The Olympic Games draws crowds from all across the world to watch the best athletes compete for the top spot in their sports. However, as the event only lasts two weeks, some of the specially-built stadia become vacant once the dust has settled.
It was recently announced that the city of Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, will soon be transformed into a casino hub – far removed from its sporting roots. Here’s how some other former Olympic sites fared after the world’s biggest sporting event left town for good.
Once host to the greatest swimmers in the world, Olympic pools often become “white elephants” after the Games: too big to host regional competitions or swimming classes. Some cities do manage to find uses for these arenas that serve the public, though. The pool used for diving and water polo from the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics is now open to the public during the summer months, while Beijing’s Olympic aquatic centre from the 2008 Games reopened as Asia’s largest indoor waterpark, and now boasts a huge water slide.
For the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Park was built in the east of the city next to the Stratford City development, which is home to Westfield shopping center. One year after the opening ceremony, the park played host to the Open East Festival instead. Since then, it has gradually become more widely available to members of the general public, regularly hosting concerts and other sporting events.
Munich’s Olympic Stadium was built as the main venue for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and was home to German football champions Bayern Munich for over three decades. These days, visitors can walk through the facilities, attend one of the many concerts held there, or go to the Sea Life Centre. The stadium hosted the 2013 X Games, and each year welcomes crowds to Tollwood festival.
Sports venues for this year’s Rio Olympics cost Brazil’s government a whopping $22 million, just two years after hosting the 2014 World Cup. Following that tournament, many stadiums became too expensive to run, becoming vacant and remaining out of use. This time around, though, the country appears to have learned from some of its mistakes. The Future Arena, which was home to handball and volleyball at the Rio Olympics, will soon be dismantled and converted into four schools.
Located at Olympic Park in Montreal, the Montreal Biodome was designed by French architect Roger Tallibert to combine a velodrome with a Judo facility for the 1976 Summer Games in Canada. In 1992 it was converted into a museum with an exhibition that allows visitors to walk through replicas of the four ecosystems found in the Americas: the South American rainforest, the North American wilderness, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the polar regions of the Artic and Antarctic.
Less than a decade after the former Yugoslavia became the first Communist country to host the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, a bloody conflict from 1992-95 tore the country apart. During the Siege of Sarajevo, fighters on both sides took to the mountains surrounding the city and used the Olympic structures as battlements and storage for their fighting and weapons. Thousands of people were buried in a gigantic cemetery as a result of the devastating conflict, surrounded by the remains of the Olympics.