A standing testament to humanity's greatest athletic competition, Olympic stadiums have hosted the fastest and the strongest athletes on earth. Many countries buy into the promise that hosting the Olympics will bring wealth and prosperity to their land. With billions of dollars spent on stadiums and Olympic venues, plans are drawn to ensure that these monuments are put to good use, long after the games have moved on. But what really happens to these mega structures in the decades following an Olympic games?
Eight years after Beijing hosted a spectacular summer Olympics, China's bustling capital sees vastly improved public transport and infrastructure, but many of the venues built for the event languish unloved, underused and draining public finances.
It was billed as a chance to transform Greece's image abroad and boost growth but 10 years after the country hosted the world's greatest sporting extravaganza, there is little to celebrate at the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.
The purpose-built Taekwando arena has occasionally been used for non-sporting events since the Athens 2004 Olympics. Twelve years after the Athens Games, many of the venues remain abandoned or rarely used, focusing public anger on past governments as the country struggles through years of recession and a debt crisis that has seen a surge in poverty and unemployment.
"It was a waste of money and all for show. It cost a lot," said Dimitris Mardas, economics professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who was the then-general secretary for trade.
Wartime destruction and negligence have turned most of the Bosnian capital's 1984 Winter Olympic venues into painful reminders of the city's golden times. The world came together in the former Yugoslavia in 1984 after the West had boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Russia boycotted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Just eight years later, the bobsleigh and luge track on Mount Trbevic was turned into an artillery position from which Bosnian Serbs pounded the city for almost four years. Today, the abandoned concrete construction looks like a skeleton littered with graffiti.
Twenty years after the Olympics were held in Atlanta, some remnants of that improbable summer remain a highly visible part of the city's landscape, while others quickly faded away. Herndon Stadium, home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games field hockey events sits vacant in Atlanta. Perhaps the saddest legacy of the games, this 15,000-seat stadium was used during the filming of the movie "We Are Marshall" but was abandoned after Morris Brown College ran into financial difficulties. Gutted by vandals, it is now covered in graffiti and piles of trash.
The permanent tennis facility built in a corner of Stone Mountain Park quickly became a money loser and now sits idle, weeds growing through the outer courts and the scoreboard in disrepair.