What abandoned Olympic venues from around the world look like today

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Hosting the Olympics can be an economic burden on a country, especially if the host nation has to build venues for the games.

Throughout Olympic history, we’ve seen that once the games are over, these venues often become abandoned, crumbling as they go unused.

Take a look at photos below of some past Olympic venues and villages, in cities like Rio de Janeiro, Pyeongchang, Beijing, Athens, and Sarajevo, and how they have become abandoned.

Sam Belden and Emmett Knowlton contributed to this report.


In 2016, Rio de Janeiro hosted the first Olympic Games in Latin America in nearly 40 years.

Buda Mendes/Getty

In January 2020, a Brazilian judge ordered the closure of the venues in the Olympic park over safety concerns.

Lucas Dumphreys/AP Images

Source: BBC


As of 2017, debris from the demolished media centre hadn’t been cleaned up.

Mario Tama/Getty

Many Olympic sites are littered with rusty metal.

Mario Tama/Getty

Maracana Stadium, where the football tournament was held.

Mario Lobao/AP

The grass is almost completely dry.

Mario Lobao/AP

Looters ransacked the stadium back in January, taking items like televisions, fire extinguishers and a statue.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Source:
BBC


Aquatics facilities are also in disrepair.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

The facilities have been stripped down and remain bare.

Buda Mendes/Getty

Inside, the stadium is deserted. Puddles of stagnant water cover the floors, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Buda Mendes/Getty

The facility’s exterior isn’t much better. The city was supposed to tear down the aquatics stadium soon after the Olympics, but no progress has been made so far.

Buda Mendes/Getty

The Olympic golf course is mostly deserted. There are sometimes only three or four groups playing at a time.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Source:
Golf.com


The course cost around $US20 million to build.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Source:
Golf.com


Olympic signage continues to loom throughout the city.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

A view of Rio from the mostly abandoned Olympic Park.

Buda Mendes/Getty

Thousands of apartments in Rio’s Olympic Village were unoccupied after the games.

Renata Brito/AP

Source:
Rio’s $US700 million athletes village was turned into luxury condos but is now reportedly ‘shuttered’ and 93% vacant


An abandoned water tank.

Mario Tama/Getty

Cleaning up Guanabara Bay was a big part of Rio’s successful bid to host the Games.

Silvia Izquierdo/AP

Source:
One of the sites for the 2016 Summer Olympics is completely filthy, and it’s going to stay that way


Lying in Rio’s rubble are thousands of pamphlets from the Games — scars of an Olympics that proved to be more than the city bargained for.

Mario Tama/Getty

Pyeongchang has also felt the impact of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. Many of the venues, like the site of the downhill skiing events below, have gone under-used since the games.

Yelim Lee/AFP/Getty Images

The inside of the speed-skating arena is now reportedly dark and ice-less.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

The gondola lift terminal is now blocked off by barbed wire.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

There are arguments in South Korea about the future and upkeep of the venues, as many of the winter sports simply haven’t caught on in the region. Protest banners were hung on the fencing surrounding the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

Source: AFP


Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

One decade later, civil war broke out amid the breakup of what was the country of Yugoslavia.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Some of the Olympic venues were repurposed and used as military facilities.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Source:
REUTERS


The bobsled facility was turned into an artillery stronghold during the war.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Source:
REUTERS


The heavily graffitied course is sometimes used for BMX races.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A dog walks past the Kosevo Stadium, where the opening ceremonies were held.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

And weeds grow over the walls of the Kosevo Stadium.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The abandoned ski jump at Mount Igman.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Seating is overrun with grass and weeds.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Another angle of the ski jump.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The track itself is covered in debris.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

This is what’s left of the figure skating facility, Zetra Hall.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

REUTERS/David Grey

A sign from the area where the baseball stadium once stood.

REUTERS/David Grey

A stray dog on a field that was once inside the baseball stadium.

REUTERS/David Grey

A makeshift broom in what was once an Olympic “green area.”

REUTERS/David Grey

Tourists next to the rings in a former “green area” from the Olympics.

REUTERS/David Grey

The parking lot for the cycling stadium is now used for driving tests.

REUTERS/David Grey

Source:
REUTERS


The BMX park has been overgrown and a car company now rents out the site.

Simon Song/South China Morning Post/Getty Images

A rusting sign from the kayaking facility.

REUTERS/David Grey

A security guard with a flat tire from his bicycle at the kayaking venue.

REUTERS/David Grey

Source:
REUTERS


The three empty poles in the left of the shot once flew country flags of medal-winning Olympians.

REUTERS/David Grey

Source:
REUTERS


The BMX facility.

REUTERS/David Grey

Many of their stadiums are shut out from the public, like the beach volleyball facility.

REUTERS/David Grey

A promotional banner for beach volleyball still stands.

REUTERS/David Grey

Panels on the outside of the beach volleyball facility are falling off.

REUTERS/David Grey

A boat sails past the stands and observation tower from the rowing facility.

REUTERS/David Grey

Two mascots of the games now live in the woods…

Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

The polluted waters near the facility.

REUTERS/David Grey

Athens went $US15 billion over its budget to prepare for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Source:
IMF


Greece shouldered the cost overruns, and many of the facilities have fallen into disuse.

Source:
Bloomberg


The Olympic Village is abandoned.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

The city planned to turn the Olympic Village into public housing.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Source:
Telegraph


Thousands of families applied to live there, but the whole project fell through.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Source:
Telegraph


Seating areas are overgrown with weeds.

REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

And stairs and covered in rust.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The canoe and kayak facility was the first in Olympic history to be filled with saltwater rather than freshwater.

REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Source:
New York Times


Now it’s abandoned.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

And dry in patches.

REUTERS/David Grey

There’s graffiti everywhere.


Beach volleyball practice courts are growing wild.

REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

The beach volleyball venue from a distance.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The inside is just as bad,

REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Like other venues, vegetation is taking over.

REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

Weeds are everywhere.

REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

A diving centre is drained.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A pool at the Olympic Village is filthy.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

And polluted.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Frogs have found homes, at least.


The tracks are still used by some, but it doesn’t mean they’re in good shape.

REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

The field hockey facility.


And an old podium.

REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

In Turin, where the 2006 Winter Olympics were held, the Olympic village isn’t abandoned, but became housing for migrants and refugees.

Siegfried Modol/Reuters

Read more: The 2006 Turin Olympics athletes village is now home to over 1,000 African migrants and refugees


It wasn’t planned for such. After a migration program ended, many migrants and refugees were left without a place to go, so they took over the abandoned apartments.

Siegfried Modola/Reuters

Some spaces have been repurposed as classrooms where the occupants learn English and Italian.

Siegfried Modola/Reuters

However, some of the buildings appeared to be cleared by Italian police in July 2019.

Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

As buildings were cleared by police, items were discarded into the surrounding areas.

Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

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