Top 10 Abandoned Olympic Facilities



Top 10 Abandoned Olympic Facilities

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
These Olympic facilities have fallen into ruin. For this list, we'll be looking at buildings that were used for the international sporting events, but now lay empty, wasting potentially millions of dollars worth of development. Our countdown includes Turin's Olympic Village, Rio Olympic Park, Sochi Olympic Park, and more!

Top 10 Abandoned Olympic Facilities

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Abandoned Olympic Facilities.

For this list, we’ll be looking at buildings that were used for the international sporting events, but now lay empty, wasting potentially millions of dollars worth of development.

What are your favourite haunting Olympic locations? Any we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Trampolino Olimpico Italia

Cortina 1956
You never really think about what happens to ski slopes when it’s not winter. The Trampolino Olimpico Italia was used for the ski jumping and team events for the 1956 Winter Olympics. The site was actually built decades earlier, and then upgraded after Cortina d’Ampezzo was selected in 1939. It was used for the Ski Jumping World Cup in the late 70s and 80s, and featured in a scene of the 1981 James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only”. But since then, the area has mostly been unmaintained. Now it lies rotting, with its last recorded sporting use in 1985.

#9: Turin’s Olympic Village

Torino 2006
For Turin, Italy, the Olympics represented an opportunity to show the world its cultural life and stunning architecture. Thanks to the Olympic exposure, the tourist intake has increased significantly, and the city has become a sporting hub for Europe. However, as is the case with a lot of countries that host the games, there are some buildings that still rarely see use. The Turin Athlete's village was one of a few places for visitors to stay. And while refugees made temporary homes in some of the buildings, they’ve since been cleared out, leaving the place dilapidated and empty.

#8: The Lenin Palace of Culture and Sports

Moscow 1980
Moscow was a controversial pick for the Olympics, with plenty of countries boycotting the 1980 games in protest. That didn’t stop the USSR from building some insanely expensive structures to show off some of that “communist grandeur”. While there are some structures, such as the Tallinn Olympic Yachting Centre in Estonia, that still see active use, the Lenin Palace of Culture and Sports has had the life sucked out of it. It did find use as a concert hall for a while, but now it stands empty. It could be a place for dark tourists to have on their bucket list because of the history, but its only practical use is as a canvas for modern graffiti artists.

#7: Alonzo Herndon Stadium

Atlanta 1996
The Atlanta venues have met many different fates. The 1996 Olympics were marred by a bombing attempt at Centennial Olympic Park, but the area has been renovated and is still a fantastic part of the city. Other facilities and arenas haven’t been so lucky. The Herndon Stadium is the perfect example of something from out of a fever dream. It was used for the field hockey tournament back in 1996. Afterwards it was repurposed for small scale events and even the filming of “We Are Marshall” in 2006. However, it has since become post-apocalyptic in it’s disrepair.

#6: Sochi Olympic Park

Sochi 2014
When the International Olympic Committee decided to have Russia host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi needed a lot of new infrastructure to support it. A record breaking $51 billion was invested into the small seaside resort town. After the event came and went however, the Olympic Park was more or less abandoned. Despite spending seven years in development, the structures had been hastily put together, leaving many still unfinished by the time the games rolled around. And while this massive investment might have allowed for larger opportunities, the sites have never been able to recover. The park is now a ghost town.

#5: Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track

Sarajevo 1984
Sarajevo was the capital of what then was Yugoslavia and was chosen to host the Winter Olympics in 1984. The games were mostly successful, providing a lot of tourism to the country. Unfortunately, trouble was just beyond the slope. The Bosnian War broke out less than a decade later, leading to a considerable amount of building and infrastructure being destroyed in the process. Visitors have reported that the bob-sled track still has visible bullet holes, as it was used during the siege of Sarajevo as an artillery position. Now overgrown, the tracks have become a popular site for graffiti art and BMX racers. There are plans to restore the site, but it’s definitely an uphill battle!

#4: Berlin Olympic Village

Berlin 1936
During the lead up to World War II, the new German chancellor was looking to showcase the country's strength. A large amount of money was spent on not just hosting the games, but making them the first Olympics to be broadcasted. One of the many facilities to be built was Hitler’s Olympic Village, which itself had controversial origins. The construction was overseen by Captain Wolfgang Fürstner, who was suddenly demoted due to his Jewish heritage, and took his own life. After the games, the village was repurposed as a hospital and army base by the Germans, then the Soviets. Recently there have been efforts to restore the area for museum tours, but it mostly remains in disrepair.

#3: Beijing Arenas & Mascots

Beijing 2008
Hosting the Olympics can be a mixed bag, even for a country as big as China. While you will experience plenty of tourism and exposure for your country, what’s left behind can prove a challenge to deal with. Some of the venues from Beijing 2008 have become tourist attractions, like the “Bird's Nest” stadium and the “Water Cube” aquatics centre. But many lie deserted, including the volleyball arena, BMX track and kayaking stadium. And there is something horrifyingly dystopian about the game’s mascots lying abandoned amongst overgrown shrubbery.

#2: Rio Olympic Park

Rio 2016
The Olympics are fantastic events that bring together people from all nations to celebrate their best athletes. However, they come at a cost. The massive facilities for the 2016 Rio Olympics cost an estimated $15 billion dollars. Allegations of corruption surrounded their construction. On top of that, many critics argued that the facilities were too big to be maintained in the long term. And they were right. Shortly after, some of the venues were put to use, but in 2020 a judge ordered their closure until they’d been certified as safe. As a result, the areas have become completely abandoned, with some raided for equipment.

#1: Athens Olympic Stadiums

Athens 2004
When Athens were selected to host the 2004 Olympics, it was like the games were returning home. And while many called them “unforgettable”, some media outlets see the now abandoned venues as a stark reminder of the 2008 Greek economic crisis. The games left Athens with some new outstanding infrastructure, including a new airport, ring roads and subway system! But the country has still yet to find uses for all of their new facilities. Stadiums lie abandoned and overgrown, with the water in the outdoor pool turned brown. While there are potential benefits, the pictures of athletic areas forgotten are a stark reminder that hosting the Olympics can be a gamble in itself, even for the country they came from.