Updated : Sep 11, 2019 in Articles

Olympic Venues That Were Completely Abandoned


There’s a lot involved in campaigning to host
the Olympic Games. Even the loser cities spend an insane amount
of money — and the winning cities take home just an estimated $5 to $6 billion (half of
which goes to the Olympic Committee!). Hosting the games is a lose-lose situation,
and cities all over the world pour millions and billions into construction that looks
great on TV but is hugely impractical for everyday life. These stunning Olympic venues were left to
be reclaimed by nature, graffiti artists, and more. Sarajevo’s bobsled track The 1984 Winter Olympics were a huge success,
and according to Atlas Obscura, the bobsled track was more than 4,200 feet long, had 13
turns, and definitely cost a pretty penny. The state-of-the-art track was reused for
post-Olympic competitions, but when war broke out, it was used for something else. The Smithsonian reports that you can still
see holes drilled into the track by Bosnian-Serb troops who used it as an artillery stronghold
during the Siege of Sarajevo. By the time the war was over, the entire thing
was pockmarked with bullet holes. The track was never repaired, and although
there was talk of renovating it, Reuters reported it wasn’t worth the continued cost of its
upkeep. Linnahall’s Communist grandeur Moscow hosted the Summer Olympics in 1980,
and it was just as controversial as you’d think. There was a massive boycott of the games,
with around 60 countries refusing to attend, but that didn’t stop the U.S.S.R. from building
some insane venues. The Estonian city of Tallinn hosted the sailing
events, and has since repurposed the hotel and the Olympic Sailing Centre as a hotel
and casino, but the Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport wasn’t so lucky. According to Estonian World, Linnahall was
used as a concert hall in the years after the Olympics. But times changed, and it was finally abandoned
in 2009. While some say it’s a Communist cultural ziggurat,
others say it’s a great place for graffiti. Beijing is left for the birds Beijing went wild with its 2008 Olympic venues. And one of the most beautiful buildings was
the Bird’s Nest. The stadium cost a whopping $480 million just
to build, plus another $11 million in annual maintenance. The stadium has since failed to attract a
regular tenant, but NPR says Beijing hasn’t given up on the money pit. Yet. With tourism on the decline, a dwindling number
of one-time events filling just some of the seats, and Beijing’s soccer team’s refusal
to make the stadium their permanent home, the Bird’s Nest’s only regular occupants are,
well, actual birds. Atlanta’s Olympic ruins When Atlanta hosted the 1996 games, field
hockey was played in a football stadium on the campus of the Morris Brown College. Lonely Planet reported the stadium was originally
built in 1948, and when photographer Jeff Hagerman found it in 2018, he said it was
a bit of an anomaly. The stadium (which was also used in 2006’s
We Are Marshall) was one of the few abandoned stadiums in the city. Curbed Atlanta reported that it was abandoned
in 2002 when the school gave its football program the ax. Athens’ aquatic center In the run-up to the 2004 Olympics, Athens
sank a total of $12.2 billion into building venues. And by 2008, they were $460 billion in debt. Even Olympic weightlifter-turned-Parliamentarian
Pyrros Dimas told the Associated Press it was: “The biggest mistake in our history.” The BBC reported the Aquatic Center was behind
schedule, and ultimately lacking a roof that would have protected athletes from the elements. Ten years later, the complex is drained and
dry, and completely abandoned. Hitler’s Olympic Village In 1936, Berlin hosted the Olympics, turning
it into an advertisement for the Aryan race… without making it look too obvious. The 5,000 athletes who showed up to compete
under the shadow of the Third Reich stayed in Hitler’s Olympic Village. And according to Abandoned Berlin, the community
had it all: luxury, a constant military presence, and Nazi propaganda. After the Olympic athletes left, the village
was host to another sort of community: a military one. According to Business Insider the last remaining
Soviet troops abandoned the village in 1992, and in spite of the fact there’s been talk
about restoring it, funding and location have consistently stood in the way. A crumbling aquatic center According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
Rio’s 2016 Olympic Aquatic Center was designed to be a temporary structure that could be
disassembled after the games, and re-constructed in various Rio suburbs. But unfortunately, none of that actually happened. Within a year of the end of the Rio games,
the building was falling apart, and the water still left in one pool turned orange, thanks
to bugs in the stagnant water. But it’s not the only Olympic landmark in
Rio to be left abandoned. A record-setting stadium Rio’s Maracana Stadium was the centerpiece
of both the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. According to CNN, it was actually constructed
for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. It was where Pele scored his 1,000th goal,
and it held a record-setting 200,000 people. It got a $500 million makeover in 2014 for
the World Cup, but following the Rio games, it was in bad shape. Mere months after the games, CNN reported
that about 10 percent of the stadium’s seats had been stolen, the field was dead, and the
roof was designated unsafe. However, the former Olympic venue was reopened
in March 2017, and seems to have been spiffed up. Who knows, maybe this stadium will live to
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