The Olympics that broke Greece

Eight years after the Athens Olympics, many venues have been left to rot


The Greek embassy estimated that it cost Greece €8.954 billion to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2004, including the construction of the Olympic Village and several shiny new athletic venues. Since then, though, many of those venues have been abandoned, making one Olympic legacy a set of decaying structures.

Some of the venues have gotten a bit more love than others. In the last two years, the Olympic Stadium has been used by a local soccer club (although it has been set on fire during football riots). The athlete's village has been converted into worker housing, and the hockey venue hosted the Special Olympics last year, although debris from those games is still lying around. Otherwise, many venues are used infrequently or have been abandoned entirely, pools given over to frogs, the taekwondo and handball arena used rarely for non-sporting events. Sport-specific venues, like the softball venue (a sport not played in Greece) and the beach volleyball stadium (usually played on one of Greece's actual beaches), have found little use beyond the occasional concert. For many in Greece, these venues serve as an unpleasant reminder of the country's previous excess spending in light of its current financial woes.
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