What abandoned Olympic venues from around the world look like today

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.

Already, the venues from Rio 2016 are falling apart, and they’re not the only ones. Former host cities like Saravejo, Athens, and Beijing have had venues suffer the same fate.

Pyeongchang will avoid such a fate, as they plan to demolish their Olympic stadium when the games are over.

Take a look at some photos below.

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

The city has yet to clear away much of the debris created by the Games. Here’s what’s left of the Rio Media Center, demolished in September.

Mario Tama/Getty

The site has become a health hazard. It is located in downtown Rio, close to public facilities like city hall, a convention center and a day care.

Mario Tama/Getty

Many Olympic sites are littered with rusty metal.

Mario Tama/Getty

Maracana Stadium, where the football tournament was held.


The grass is almost completely dry.


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

Source:
BBC


Aquatics facilities are also in disrepair. This one was covered by translucent tapestries before they started to wear away.


It looks even worse without them.

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.

Source:
Golf.com


The course cost around $US20 million to build.

Source:
Golf.com


Olympic signage continues to loom throughout the city.


A view of Rio from the mostly abandoned Olympic Park.

Buda Mendes/Getty

Rio’s Olympic Village. Thousands of apartments remain unoccupied.

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


This water tank has been abandoned.

Mario Tama/Getty

So were most of the city’s efforts to clean up Guanabara Bay. The bay was the site of the sailing and other open-water events.


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

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

Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984.


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


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

Source:
REUTERS


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

Source:
REUTERS


Today the heavily graffitied course is sometimes used for BMX races.


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


And weeds grow over the walls of the Kosevo Stadium.


The abandoned ski jump at Mount Igman.


Seating is overrun with grass and weeds.


Another angle of the ski jump.


The track itself is covered in debris.


The ski jump through a broken window.


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


Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996. The Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was used for baseball, but was demolished in 1997. The space was turned into 4,000 parking spaces.

REUTERS Photography

Source:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The cauldron was moved from Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Stadium when the stadium was renamed Turner Field and repurposed for the Braves. The cauldron now sits idly overlooking a highway.

Source:
Around the Rings


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


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


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


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


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


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

Source:
REUTERS


A rusting sign from the kayaking facility.


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

Source:
REUTERS


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

Source:
REUTERS


The BMX facility.


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


A promotional banner for beach volleyball still stands.


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


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


The polluted waters near the facility.


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

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.


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.

Source:
New York Times


Now it’s abandoned.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

And dry in patches.


There’s graffiti everywhere.


Beach volleyball practice courts are growing wild.


The beach volleyball venue from a distance.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Inside, it’s a nightmare.


And useless.


Weeds are everywhere.


A diving center 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.


The field hockey facility.


And an old podium.


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

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.


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


Now, learn more about the North Korean cheer squad at the Pyeongchang Olympics…

Richard Heathcote/Getty

The 229 women in North Korea’s ‘Army of Beauties’ at the Winter Olympics are hand picked, unpaid, and guarded 24/7 >

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