The Blue and Gold

The Afterlife of 5 Olympic Stadiums

Ananya Pant, Journalist/Editor

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There have been 28 Summer Olympic Games held in 23 cities, and 23 Winter Olympic Games held in 20 cities. Cities spend billions of dollars and spend up to ten years planning, building, and preparing to host this momentous event in their hometowns. However, after the crowds disperse and the athletes fly home, many Olympic venues are abandoned – enshrined in sports history, without a future purpose. Just six months after the Winter Olympics in Sochi, for example, the Olympic Village looked like a ghost town. Some stadiums are downsized into everyday sports arenas, reborn into five star hotels, or transformed into shopping malls. However, countless stadiums around the world have been abandoned or fallen into despair. Others like the Lillehammer, Atlanta, Berlin, Barcelona, and Montreal Stadiums have been reinvented or remodeled and have become travel destinations and world-wide attractions.

The Lillehammer ski jumping arena, from the 1994 Olympics, is the most visited Olympic stadium. With a population of only 26,000 people, it would be easy to think that the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer would be unable to maintain the giant facilities required for the Olympics. But Lillehammer is in many ways the gold-standard for post-Olympic success, with nearly all of the venues still in use. The Lysgardsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena—located directly in town and home of the opening ceremony—is used year-round, as are many of their other stadiums. The city also successfully held the Winter Youth Olympics in 2016.

In 1996, the Summer Olympics were hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Their Olympic Stadiums were converted into Centennial Olympic Park. Before Atlanta hosted the games, the 21-acre park in downtown  was previously full of vacant industrial buildings and blighted lots. During the Olympics, athletes and visitors used the park for medal presentations and entertainment. Now, it’s a thriving amusement park in the center of downtown, offering everything from live music to festivals, and even a summer play-fountain in the shape of the Olympic rings.

 

Berlin, the capital of Germany, hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics and this stadium still used for football (soccer), musicals, shows, and festivals. This stadium is one of the most visited stadiums in the world. The Olympiastadion, as its called, is not just an attraction for football fans. Many people are familiar with the five-star stadium from television, as a venue for sports events and concerts. On the guided tour, you can take a look behind the scenes at the stadium and its facilities. The lower ring was renovated and 13 luxury boxes were added to the upper ring. Today, the total capacity is 74,475 seats. On 1st, August 2004, there was an official reopening ceremony for the Olympiastadion. Without a doubt, one of the highlights in the history of the new Olympiastadion Berlin was its hosting of the 2006 World Cup Final. The German Cup Final has been held here since 1985, and it is the home stadium of the Hertha BSC, football (Soccer) team for Germany.

 

Barcelona, a city in Spain, hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. This stadium is still in use and is the fourth most frequently visited stadium. On top of housing the main events of the Olympic Games, this stadium has been the main venue of the most important music acts of the past 20 years. Some of these acts include: Imagine Dragons, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Guns N’ Roses, Tina Turner and Coldplay. It also hosts many important sports events, especially soccer and other athletic competitions.

 

In 1976, Montreal, Canada hosted the Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, artificial turf was installed, and it became the home of Montreal’s professional baseball and football teams. Their Olympic Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, located at Olympic Park. The stadium currently serves as a multipurpose facility for special events, like concerts and trade shows, with a seating capacity of 56,040. The stadium has a 541 foot tower, an attraction for sightseeing.

 

Each of these Olympic Stadiums is visited every day. There are very few Olympic Stadiums that are still in use. Stadiums in cities like Rio de Grande and Sochi have abandoned their stadiums and wasted billions of dollars for two weeks worth of events. The stadiums listed above, however, are the five stadiums around the world that have utilized their stadiums to their fullest potential. If you ever find yourself in any of these cities, make sure you visit these famous stadiums.

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The Afterlife of 5 Olympic Stadiums