What Happens to the Stadiums After the Olympics?
While many are engaged in the Olympic games and spend hours cheering on their favourite Olympians, few think about what happens to the stadiums after the games are over. In this article we take a look at some of the Olympic stadiums from the 2000's and the fate they faced once the hype was over.
1) Pyeongchang 2018
As the Olympics wrapped up this Sunday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the pentagonal Olympic Stadium that costed $109 million to build, housed 35,000 seats during the games, and was only used four times - will be demolished. According to Business Insider, the reason behind the demolition is to avoid the similar fate of the multiple other Olympic stadiums that remain vacant and in a state of decay. The city has also planned to reuse the space to construct an Olympic memorial hall in the coming years.
2) Rio 2016 - The Maracana Stadium
Unlike other stadiums, the Maracana Stadium wasn't built specifically for Olympic events. It was originally opened in 1950 and hosted the FIFA World Cup. Since the 50's the stadium was used predominately for football matches and occasionally for concerts and other sporting events.
In 2000, the stadium had renovations to make it suitable for hosting bigger events such as the 2014 World Cup and later the 2016 Olympic Games.
Shortly after the Olympics, the stadium became abandoned, closed to tourists, and eventually was trashed by vandals who ripped out seats.
3) Sochi 2014 - Fisht Olympic Stadium
Struggling to find a purpose for the $51 billion state of the art campus, the former Olympic venue sat idle until it reopened in 2016 as an open-air football stadium. The Fisht Olympic Stadium has since become the training centre and match venue for the Russia national football team, hosted matches as part of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and will host the 2018 FIFA World cup.
4) London 2012 - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was built as a sporting complex for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics. The park closed proceeding the Olympics, however, part of it reopened in July 2013, and most of the permanent venues reopened in 2014. Presently, parts of the park and adjacent areas are being redeveloped with housing, outposts, and offices in discussion.
5) Vancouver 2010 - The Whistler Olympic Park
After the games, Vancouver repurposed the infrastructure into training facilities, housing, and public infrastructure. According to The Island Press, "the Vancouver Organizing Committee set aside a $110 million legacy fund to ensure that public investment in the games would continue to pay dividends well beyond the games themselves." As part of the investement, The Whistler Olympic Park, now offers 130km of trails suitable for skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and other winter activities.
6) Beijing 2008 - The Beijing National Stadium
During the Olympic games, the Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird's Nest), had everyone entranced by it's intricate design, the pyrotechnics, and the athleticism that took place within it. After the Olympics, the stadium was reused for multiple purposes such as a snow theme park in 2010, and the finals of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship. In 2022, it will host the Winter Olympics.
7) Turin 2006 - The Olympic Village at Sestriere
After the 2006 Games, Turin not only became a popular tourist destination, but also a positive example of the possibility of lustrous life after the games. According to Olympic.org the city used remaining money from the Games to boost their infrastructure by improving both the ski and accommodation facilities in the area. It has also since been ranked among the top 52 destinations for 2016 by The New York Times.
8) Athens 2004 - Faliron complex
Despite being the founding city of the Olympics, and hosting the games in 2004, many of the buildings used during the 2004 Olympic games have since been abandoned and left to decay. The only sign of what once happened within the stadiums are the sun stained and shredded banners, that have barely visible text of the "Athens 2004"
Luckily, the Faliro Sports Pavilion which was used for the preliminary matches of handball and taekwondo during the Olympics, is still used today. While during the Olympics it seated 3,836 individuals, the arena can seat up to 8,536 individuals and has been used to host an assortment of tournaments, concerts, and ice shows.
9) Salt Lake City 2002 - Utah Olympic Oval
Wanting to be prosperous after the games, the city of Utah used funding generated during the games to maintain the buildings and facilities that were used during the Games. Venues such as the Olympic Sports Park outside of Park City, the Nordic Ski Center at Soldier Hollow and the Olympic Oval in Kearns have all been maintained and now offer recreational programs to the public . The Olympic Oval can even be rented for special events such as birthday parties, corporate meetings and team-building exercises.
10) Sydney 2000 - Sydney Olympic Park
After the games, Sydney Olympic Park was gradually converted to a multipurpose facility. Today the area features businesses, hotels, extensive parklands, entertainment venues, outlet shopping, and tourist attractions. The facilities that were built for the Olympics continue to be used for musical, cultural, and sporting events.
Even though the Winter Olympics just finished, we are already looking ahead to the Summer Olympics which will be held in Tokyo. The New National Stadium which is currently under construction, will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as for track and field events.
Unlike the arena in Pyeongchang, no official announcement has been made regarding the fate of the building post Olympics. We can only hope that it will follow the lead of the Olympic hosts that chose to reconstruct, rebuild, or repurpose the venues rather than the ones that left the stadiums abandoned.