Athens, Greece: Helliniko Olympic complex
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe

Abandoned Olympic Venues Around the World

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Athens, Greece: Helliniko Olympic complex
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe

Built to Not Last

The Olympics aren’t just a chance to cheer on world-class athletes, they’re also an opportunity for the country that’s hosting the games to enjoy a boost to the economy. However, spending money to improve infrastructure and attract tourists does not always work out. There are a number of massive facilities worldwide that cost millions to build, but have been completely abandoned to rot away. Take a look at these Olympic sites that have been left in the dust.


Related: World-Famous Stadiums Where You Can Still Catch a Game

Atlanta: Herndon Stadium
Raymond Boyd / Contributor / Michael Ochs Archives

Atlanta: Herndon Stadium

Cost to Build: $1.5 billion 


This abandoned 15,011-seat stadium started out as the setting for the 1996 Summer Olympics field hockey competition. Located near the campus of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, the stadium fell into disrepair when the college faced financial difficulties.


Athens: Olympic Village
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe

Athens: Olympic Village

Total cost for Olympics: $15 billion


Greece is the smallest country to ever hold an Olympics, but despite being considered the birthplace of the event, the money spent on building for the 2004 games ended up with those same structures lying abandoned. The village built to house athletes now sits empty, covered with graffiti.


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Athens: Olympic Aquatic Center
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe

Athens: Olympic Aquatic Center

The Olympic Aquatic Center once saw cheering crowds and enthusiastic competitors. It now lies abandoned, with a decrepit empty pool.

Athens: Olympic Canoe And Kayak Slalom Center
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe

Athens: Olympic Canoe And Kayak Slalom Center

Equipment lies abandoned as if left behind suddenly, and weeds give the center a creepy feel.

Athens, Greece: Helliniko Olympic complex
Milos Bicanski / Stringer / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images Europe
Rio de Janeiro: Olympic Park
Buda Mendes / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images South America

Rio de Janeiro: Olympic Park

Total Cost for Olympics: Approximately $13 billion 


The 2016 Summer Olympics, held in Rio, were an expensive undertaking that Brazil hoped would bring dollars to the economy. But like many Olympics before it, the effects weren’t long lasting. Today, the Olympic village is effectively a ghost town, left in a state of decay. In fact, A Brazilian judge ordered the closure of the Rio aquatics venue on safety grounds in 2020.


Related: Free and Cheap Things to Do in Rio and Brazil


Berlin: 1936 Olympic Village
Maja Hitij / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images Europe

Berlin: 1936 Olympic Village

Total Cost for Olympics: Equivalent of $1.7 billion 


In 1936, Berlin built the first multi-sports Olympic park ever, but time has not been kind to the venues, which were constructed just as Hitler began to gain power in Germany.Some buildings were briefly used after the Olympics as a Nazi infantry school and a military hospital. Today they sit in decay.


Berlin: Summer Olympics Pool Venue
Athanasios Gioumpasis / Contributor / Getty Images News / Getty Images Europe

Berlin: Summer Olympics Pool Venue

The Olympic pool lies empty even after all this time, despite an attempt by conservationists to restore the roof in 2020.

Igman Olympic Jumps near Sarajevo.
Igman Olympic Jumps near Sarajevo. by Julian Nyča (CC BY-SA)

Sarajevo: Mount Igman Ski Jumps

Total Cost for Olympics: Approximately $110 million


The Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics brought much attention to the former Yugoslavia. But the Olympic venues that were constructed did not outlast the former country. When the Siege of Sarajevo took place nearly a decade later, most structures were destroyed or used during the battle, but some relics remain. These Olympic jumps on Mount Igman sit vacant surrounded by greenery.


Sarajevo: Olympic Sports Complex
Wikimedia Commons

Sarajevo: Olympic Sports Complex

A graveyard now surrounds the abandoned sports complex, a reminder of the war.

Sarajevo: Bobsled Track
Sarajevo: Bobsled Track by Julian Nyča (CC BY-SA)

Sarajevo: Bobsled Track

Soldiers used the Olympic facilities as hideouts. This bobsled track was said to be used as an artillery stronghold for Bosnian Serbs.

Beijing (2008): Olympic Mascots
Guang Niu / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images AsiaPac

Beijing (2008): Olympic Mascots

Total Cost for Olympics: Approximately $40 billion 


The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics is  the most expensive summer Olympics ever. But was it worth it? Beijing took on massive projects with the intention of continued use after the games. But the reality was different. One example: the Olympics featured characters named the Fuwa —  brightly colored mascots that were meant to represent good luck. But today, those formerly cute creatures are full-on creepy. They now lie abandoned behind a never-completed shopping mall.


The Ski-jumps seen from afar.
The Ski-jumps seen from afar. by Rama (CC BY-SA)

Grenoble, France: Ski Jumps

Total Cost for Olympics: $974 Million


In 1968, Grenoble, located at the foot of two mountains, was the perfect site for the 10th ever Winter Olympics. But now, the majestic ski jumps built for the event have been left abandoned. They are covered in graffiti and have started to sink into the hillside. 


Related: Spectacular and Spooky Abandoned Roads Around the World