Olympics 2021: Abandoned Games venues that time has forgotten

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Some of the most iconic Olympic Games venues now lie in wrack and ruin. Image: Getty
Some of the most iconic Olympic Games venues now lie in wrack and ruin. Image: Getty

Hosting the Olympics can cost countries billions of dollars.

New stadiums need to be built, the Olympians need an athletes village to stay in, and new infrastructure is always required for spectators.

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So when the dust settles and everyone goes home, Olympic Games venues are often abandoned and left to wrack and ruin.

Some of the most iconic Olympic Games venues in modern history now look like barren wastelands.

From Sarajevo in 1984 to Rio in 2016, take a look at some of the stunning images of abandoned venues that time has forgotten.

1984 Olympics - Sarajevo

Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina played host to the Winter Olympics in 1984.

But less than 10 years later, most of the Games' venues were destroyed in Bosnia's war between 1992 and 1995.

A ski jump, accommodation for athletes and a number of hotels have been left in ruins and never rebuilt.

One of the podiums was reportedly used as a place to execute Bosnian Muslims, while a hotel has since been turned into a prison.

The giant ski jump, pictured here lying in wrack and ruin.
Forgotten by time, these powerful images show all that is left of Sarajevo's 1984 Winter Olympic venue. (Photo by Ioanna Sakellaraki / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
An abandoned Olympics venue, pictured here in Sarajevo.
Once regarded as a great achievement for the small European city, in time it would be the setting for one of the bloodiest civil wars in the 20th century. (Photo by Ioanna Sakellaraki / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The giant ski jumps, pictured here in Sarajevo.
The 1984 Winter Olympics was the first-ever Winter Olympics hosted by a communist state. (Photo by Ioanna Sakellaraki / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

2004 Olympics - Athens

Greece reportedly spent $11.9 billion on hosting the Olympics in 2004 - 108 years after first doing so in 1896.

But the country's well-documented economic crises have meant a number of venues have been left to rot.

The official Games village is now covered in graffiti and completely trashed, with no money to invest in rebuilding.

The former Olympic Village, pictured here in Athens, Greece.
A general view of the former Olympic Village in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
An abandoned swimming pool, pictured here in the Olympic Park in Athens.
The cost of hosting the Athens Olympics was estimated to be approximately 9 billion euros. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
A disused Olympics stadium, pictured here in Greece.
Due to Greece's economic frailties post Olympic Games there has been no further investment and the majority of the newly constructed stadiums now lie abandoned. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

2008 Olympics - Beijing

The Beijing Olympics reportedly cost over $47 billion, but you can't really tell 13 years later.

A beach volleyball stadium is disused and dilapidated, while grass now covers the sand.

Some of the official Games mascots were later spotted lying among trees behind an abandoned, never-completed mall.

Countless blocks of ancient homes were also bulldozed in an building frenzy before the Games.

Two of the five mascots for the Beijing Olympics lying among trees behind an abandoned, never-completed mall.
Nini (L) and Yingying, two of the five mascots for the Beijing Olympics, lying among trees behind an abandoned, never-completed mall. (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
Grass growing in the beach volleyball stadium from 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Grass is seen growing in the beach volleyball stadium built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
The Olympic beach volleyball stadium lying rotting and disused.
The beach volleyball stadium now lies rotting and disused. (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

2016 Olympics - Rio

Rio's Olympic Aquatics stadium now looks completely dilapidated after plans to demolish it fell through.

The Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro is completely abandoned, except for the stray dogs that are often spotted roaming around.

Basketball courts, football fields and a skate park that were installed for locals to enjoy after the Games are now completely disused.

A judge has since ordered the closure of the Olympic Park due to safety concerns.

Mostly abandoned aquatics stadium at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.
A view of the mostly abandoned aquatics stadium at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
The Olympic aquatics stadium, abandoned
The Olympic aquatics stadium was to be dismantled, but it continues abandoned with no obvious signs of dismantlement. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Dogs, walking through the abandoned Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.
Dogs walk through the abandoned Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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