Hosting the Olympics can be an iffy investment that is hard on the city doing so. It requires a lot of work on the cityâs infrastructure, and it costs billions to construct the buildings used as the venues for the various events.
The Olympics only last around two weeks, which begs the question: What happens to those buildings? In too many cases, they are simply abandoned and left to rot.
The ski jump tower in Cortina Dâampezzo, Italy was used during the 1956 Winter Olympics, and is fairly typical of the abandoned venues. The more specialized they are, the harder it is to repurpose them for something else.
Sarajevo was the site of the Winter Olympics in 1984. Not even ten years later, it was besieged during the Bosnian War that took place during the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The authorities simply did not have the means to repurpose any Olympic venues. Locals, however, have adopted the bobsleigh track as a site for BMX races. Distressingly, part of the Olympic Sports Complex has been converted into a grave yard.
The problem isnât recent, either. The swimming pool used during the notorious 1936 Summer Games in Berlin is decaying, as is the Olympic village. Nazi soldiers used the Olympic Village as a barracks during World War II. Russian officers took over in 1945, and some of them stayed until 1992.
The Greek economy has been wretched for years. Like the people of Sarajevo, the people of Athens do not have the means or inclination to try to purpose any of the venues built for the Summer Olympics of 2004.
The ski jumping tower in Grenoble France was built for the 1968 Winter Games. Nobody has apparently used it or maintained it since then.
The Chinese built a beach volleyball venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Nobody has used it since then, and it is already falling apart.
What will happen to the venues built for the Rio Olympics? Only time will tell.