Olympic Venues After the Games

The fate of the structures left standing once the torches go out.

Montreal, 1976: Once known as The Big O, Montreal’s Olympic stadium is more commonly referred to as The Big Owe by local taxpayers. The Games reportedly cost Montreal $1.48 billion, and the city paid back the crushing debt only in 2006.

Sarajevo, 1984: Zetra Olympic Ice Hall, which hosted the closing ceremonies, was almost completely destroyed by bombs and fire in 1992 and served as a makeshift morgue. It was rebuilt in 1997 as an outdoor stadium but has yet to regain its former glory.

Athens, 2004: In 2004, Athens constructed a stadium worthy of Greece’s status as birthplace of the Games. Once an architectural marvel with a retractable glass roof, it has been left to rust, with weeds creeping in and trash littering the ground.

Beijing, 2008: The iconic, reportedly $423 million Bird’s Nest Stadium by Herzog & De Meuron now sits empty. After a number of failed schemes to make the venue profitable, the current attraction is a Segway track circling the stadium’s interior, where rides cost $20.