For two weeks every few years, the eyes of the world fall on the city hosting the Olympics. Those games, which countries bitterly fight to host, become ever more elaborate and expensive to host every season.
The last winter and summer games, in Sochi, Russia, and Rio, Brazil respectively, have been a logistical and security catastrophe and had a crippling effect economically. The Rio games’ expenses will fall north of $5 billion in cost after the heavy expected overages (approximately $1.6 billion).
Forbes has a chart showing the extreme cost overruns of the modern Olympic games:
According to an article in FiveThirtyEight titled “Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment,” every Olympics in the modern era has blown its budget:
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi blew their budget by 289 percent. The 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid overtopped projections by 324 percent. And the 1976 Games in Montreal ran a staggering 720 percent over projections; the city spent three decades paying down the bill. The median cost overrun for all games for which we have data is 90 percent.
This trend has people asking why we plunge a country every few years into debt, requiring they build large, unsustainable, elaborate structures that are virtually unusable after the glow of the games fade. The state of past Olympic venues serves as a reminder that these structures remain an albatross around the neck of the host city, even in highly developed countries.
The state of the Olympic park in Sochi, a mere two years after the games were hosted there, is grim according to the Sochi News Site Blogsochi.ru.
The main ceremonies stadium is fenced off and under deconstruction. This massive stadium was only used twice.
Housing built for Olympic crowds sits empty.
The rooms inside are trashed.
The grounds, built for much larger audiences than the small, poor Black Sea town can provide regularly, sit in general disrepair.
Enormous, expensive refrigeration systems sit idle, unguarded and unused.
Modern Olympic housing built for the Sochi games VIPs.
A Russian ghost town.
Hundreds of homes sit decaying and unused.
And then there’s Athens, who hosted the Summer Olympics in 2004.
The facilities today look post-apocalyptic.
Economically fragile Greece spent billions of euros on sporting venues built specifically for the games.
The conditions of the once-celebrated stadiums are horrendous.
Entire fields left to rot.
Expensive electronics abandoned.
The entrance to the aquatics facility.
A professional volleyball court in ruins.
Reclaimed by nature.
The track and field stadium is a billion dollar relic.
The waterpark facility is a perfect example of unsustainable construction.
It has sat unused for over a decade.
The Olympic canoe/kayak medal podium is still there, a monument to spending excess.
A field hockey stadium sits abandoned and unused.
The historic home of the games in shambles.
Perhaps no Olympic venue sits in worse condition than Sarajevo, who hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984.
A Bosnian civil war broke out between 1992 and 1994.
Many once pristine Olympic facilities became war zones.
This is what the 1984 athletes’ accommodations look like today.
Ravaged by war.
The luge track is now a popular face for graffiti artists.
A relic of a war-torn region.
Being reclaimed by nature.
A once glorious ski jump.
Abandoned to nature.
Here is the sad relic of the medal podium for the abandoned ski jump, lost in time.
Turin, Italy held the Winter Olympics in 2006.
The sleepy Italian mountain village built elaborate new hotels and facilities for the athletes and crowds.
Today, the abandoned Olympic facilities are home to over 1,000 squatting refugees.
According to a report in the Guardian:
Once again it is home to dozens of nationalities, but now the village’s residents include more than 1,000 refugees and migrants from Libya to Somalia who are squatting four of its buildings. Inside, almost all available space is occupied by mattresses. One of the overcrowded buildings, built to accommodate fewer than 100 athletes during the Games, is now home to as many as 500 people.
The iconic Turin Olympic arch looks like this today:
China has been in a constant struggle to repurpose their facilities after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The facilities are challenging due to their size and elaborate architecture.
According to CBS News:
The National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest because of its lattice design, has become a key Beijing landmark and a favored backdrop for visitors’ snapshots. But few tourists are willing to pay more than $8 to tour the facility as enthusiasm for the 2008 Games fades, and the venue has struggled to fill its space with events.
The iconic Bird’s Nest stadium has been fenced off and is today rarely used.
Other facilities are used for Communist party functions.
Perhaps most dystopian of them all is the fate of the Chinese Olympic mascots.
They now lie deep in a forest north of Beijing.
Cast aside and useless like many of the Olympics facilities they represented.
A strange resting place.
For one of the most successful Olympics in modern history.
This is not to say all facilities everywhere fall under disrepair. China has the economic and planning resources to reincorporate some Olympic facilities into use and even profitability.
The iconic Water Cube for instance:
Has been turned into an elaborate water park.
It is the most expensive theme park in Beijing, costing a third of one month’s minimum wage to get in.
But is still challenging to maintain.
London, Vancouver, Atlanta and Barcelona are all examples of cities in the last few decades to make strategic use of their Olympic facilities.
London used the Olympic stadium as a permanent home for a popular soccer club.
Vancouver has transitioned many of its Olympic venues into functional spaces through a $110 million public trust.
The main stadium of the Torino Olympics is now a mixed use rugby and soccer field.
And over the last twenty years, the Atlanta Braves have played inside the repurposed 1996 Olympic Park. The park is now set for demolition as the Braves will be moving to a brand new stadium in 2017.
This type of repurposing for Olympic facilities takes deep planning and expensive maintenance. The question remains for Rio: Can a country that already suffers from economic and political corruption overcome the forces of the past and keep their venues from becoming another monument to Olympic waste?
Only time will tell.
The post The Dark Fate of These Olympic Sites Should Serve as a Warning to Rio appeared first on Independent Journal Review.
Source: independent journal
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