BY AMANDA FROELICH
If you need visual evidence to understand just how wasteful the Olympic Games are – and have been – in years past, the following photos do an excellent job of validating the fact that the money invested in the tradition could probably be better spent.
Though the Olympic Games have been taking place every four years in various locations around the world since 1896, many of the venues have been abandoned and/or forgotten by the public. From Beijing to Berlin, from Athens to Atlanta, there are a number of spaces which could have been re-used or repurposed to hold the Games.
This inspires one to ask the question: “If the indigenous in Brazil are suffering through one of the worst crises in decades and millions still live in poverty, how can spending billions on the Games be justified?”
As you reach for an answer to this question, scroll through the following 30 photos, compiled and captioned by Bored Panda, which reveal what has become of venues in the past that once attracted millions for the Games.
#1 Bobsled Track, Sarajevo, 1984 Winter Olympics Venue
The disused bobsled track from the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics is seen on Mount Trebevic, near Sarajevo, September 19, 2013. Abandoned and left to crumble into oblivion, most of the 1984 Winter Olympic venues in Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo have been reduced to rubble by neglect as much as the 1990s conflict that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.
#2 Bobsleigh Track, Sarajevo, 1984 Winter Olympics
The bobsleigh and luge track at Mount Trebevic, the Mount Igman ski-jumping course and related infrastructure are crumbling more and more with each passing year. But adrenaline, fear and exhilaration are back on the bobsleigh track as downhill bikers Kemal Mulic, Tarik Hadzic and Kamer Kolar train on the graffiti-covered concrete.
#3 Olympic Village, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
An abandoned training pool for athletes at the Olympic Village.
#4 Ski Jump Tower, Cortina D’ampezzo, Italy, 1956 Winter Olympics Venue
Interesting fact about these ski jumping towers is that the Swiss jumper, Andreas Dascher introduced a new style of jumping, which would soon come to be known as the Dascher technique. Before these Games, the athletes would hold their arms forward over their heads. Dascher reasoned that if the athlete held his arms at his side he would fly farther. Adherents to this new style dominated the competition.
#5 Swimming Pool, Berlin, 1936 Summer Olympics Venue
View of the swimming pool in the 1936 Olympic village in Elstal, west of Berlin. The village, which housed over 4.000 athletes for the notorious 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, then under Nazi rule, was used as barracks for the German army shortly afterwards, and from 1945 as barracks for Russian officers, until the Russian army’s final withdrawal in 1992.
#6 Ski Jumping Tower, Grenoble, France, 1968 Winter Olympic Games
48 of abandonment and a beautiful view
#7 Olympic Sports Complex, Sarajevo, 1984 Winter Olympics Venue
A graveyard has been established in what was once part of the Olympic Sports Complex in Sarajevo for the 1984 Winter Olympics.
#8 Kayak And Canoeing Venue, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
Kayak And Canoeing Venue, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
#9 Olympic Canoe And Kayak Slalom Center, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
View at the Helliniko Olympic complex in 2014.
#10 Beach Volleyball Venue, Beijing, 2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Beijing Olympics venue for the competition lies deserted and unmaintained in central Beijing, April 2, 2012.
#11 Main Swimming Pool, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
Seats for reporters remain desolate in 2014.
#12 Olympic Mascots Lie Unwanted, Beijing, 2008 Summer Olympics
Nini, left, and Yingying, two of the five mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, are seen lying among trees behind an abandoned, never-completed mall in Beijing. The fallen mascots are a reminder of the high costs of hosting the event. Their derelict state reflects the challenges that China has faced in finding new uses for its Olympic investments, with many venues falling into disrepair and some construction projects left incomplete.
#13 Olympic Village, Berlin, 1936 Summer Olympics Venue
Deserted houses for the athletes in the former Olympic Village for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
#14 Olympic Flag Posts, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
#15 Barricades Outside The Stadium, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
#16 Soviet Venue, Tallinn, 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics
Old Soviet venue built for the Moscow Olympics in the 1980’s. Located in Tallinn, Estonia.
#17 Fountain In Olympic Village, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
The remains of a fountain decorated with the Olympic rings and graffiti-defaced marble blocks dedicated to Greek Olympic medal winners are seen here decapitating in 2012.
#18 Olympic Village, Berlin, 1936 Summer Olympics Venue
The first permanent Olympic village. The athletes were impressed – each house had its own steward and there had never been a swimming pool before at an Olympic village.
#19 Ski Jump, Sarajevo, 1984 Winter Olympics Venue
A view of the disused ski jump from the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics on Mount Igman, near Sarajevo, Sept. 19, 2013. Abandoned and left to crumble into oblivion, most of the in Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo have been reduced to rubble by neglect.
#20 Tennis Court, Atlanta, 1996 Summer Olympics Venue
The derelict netting and scoreboard in the background on a tennis court stand at the Stone Mountain Tennis Center, home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games tennis events, in Stone Mountain, Georgia, July 19, 2016. The permanent tennis facility built in a corner of Stone Mountain Park quickly became a money-loser and now sits idle, weeds growing through the outer courts and the scoreboard in disrepair.
#21 Beach Volleyball Centre, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
General view of the Beach Volleyball Olympic Stadium at Faliro Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. Ten years ago the XXVIII Olympiad was held in Athens from the 13th – 29th August with the motto ‘Welcome Home’. The cost of hosting the games was estimated to be approx 9 billion euros with the majority of sporting venues built specifically for the games. Due to Greece’s economic frailties post Olympic Games there has been no further investment and the majority of the newly constructed stadiums now lie abandoned.
#22 Diving Pool, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
Water is drained from the diving pool which forms part of the Olympic Aquatic Centre in the 2004 Olympic Games Complex on February 18, 2012 in Athens, Greece.
#23 Olympic Baseball Stadium, Athens, 2004 Summer Olympics Venue
View of derelict stands at the Olympic Baseball Stadium at the Helliniko Olympic complex in Athens, Greece, July 31, 2014. Due to Greece’s economic frailties after the Olympic Games, there has been no further investment and the majority of the newly constructed stadiums now lie abandoned.
#24 Olympic Stadium Train Stop, Munich, 1972 Summer Olympics
#25 Pool, Berlin, 1936 Summer Olympics Venue
A deserted pool used during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
#26 Olympic Stadium, Atlanta, 1996 Summer Olympics Venue
The Olympic Caldron can be seen in the foreground, as explosive charges weaken the Fulton County Stadium, Aug. 2, 1997, in Atlanta. The stadium, home of the Braves from1966-1996, was imploded to make room for a parking.
#27 Kayaking Competition Venue, Beijing, 2008 Summer Olympics
The deserted and unmaintained former venue for the kayaking competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, can be seen on the outskirts of Beijing, March 27, 2012. The gigantic infrastructures built for the Beijing Olympics, namely the “Bird’s Nest”, and the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the “Water Cube”, are now used for cultural and sports events, reminding the world of the flare that blazed during the summer of 2008.
#28 Cinema In The Olympic Village, Mexico City, 1968 Summer Olympics
During the Games, the cinema hosted movie nights and other entertainment for the athletes.
#29 Roads With Huge Potholes, Sochi, 2014 Winter Olympics
#30 Olympic Village, Berlin, 1936 Summer Olympics Venue
The athletes village of the Summer Olympics in Berlin in 1936 was located in Elstal (today part of Wustermark) and was designed by Werner and Walter March. After the war, the Soviet occupation army withdrew an on-site and used it until 1992.