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, some of those venues have been abandoned, making one Olympic legacy a set of decaying structures.

The Associate Press notes that 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 was one of venues that hosted the Special Olympics last year, although debris from those games is still lying around that venue. But some 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.


You can see more photos of Athens' intact and crumbling Olympic venues at the AP.

Edit: One reader noted that most of the Olympic facilities are still in use, either as athletic facilities or for different uses. For example, the Peace and Friendship Stadium, ΟΑΚΑ basketball stadium, and Hellinikon Basketball Stadium are still used by basketball clubs. The OAKA swimming center hosts water polo matches, including for the Greek National team. The Olympic baseball stadium is home to a minor league team, and many other stadiums are home fields for football clubs. The badminton venue has been converted into the Badminton Theater; the Olympic Press Center is now the Golden Hall Mall; and the Ano Liosia Olympic Hall is set to become the Hellenic Academy of Culture and Hellenic Digital Archive. Other facilities on top of these are used for athletic and non-athletic purposes. Fortunately, it sounds like the Olympic facilities that are partially or fully in disuse are in the minority.

Top photo from the AP. AP photos used with permission.

8 years later, Athens Olympic venues in decay [AP, hat tip to Rick]


Abandoned training pool in the Olympic village. Photo by the AP.

The Olympic beach volleyball stadium. Photo by the AP.


The Olympic taekwondo and handball arena. Photo by the AP.

The Olympic Agora beside its once-blue pond. Photo by the AP.


The Olympic softball venue. Photo by the AP.