I was lucky enough to attend both the Beijing and London Olympic games thanks to points and miles. The excitement and pride within China surrounding the 2008 Games and the amazing Bird’s Nest and Water Cube structures were incredible. Attending events at those venues is still one of my coolest travel memories. The city and the people had an enthusiasm that I have not witnessed again in any of my more recent trips back which is why it’s sad to look at some of these more current pictures of the venues:

Bird’s Nest Before & After (Workers clean garbage from the lake)

Beijing-11 Beijing-2

Water Cube Before & After

Beijing-3 Beijing-4

Baseball Before & After

Beijing-5 Beijing-6 Beijing-7

Rowing-Canoeing Venue -Before & After

Beijing-8 Beijing-9


BMX Before & After

Beijing-111 Beijing-12

Volleyball – After


There is actually some good news…since the photos above were taken, the Water Cube has been converted into the largest indoor water park in Asia, featuring slides, wave pools, a lazy river, and other amusements.

Beijing Water Cub Now

Now, of course venue lack of use is not limited to China. The Huffington Post took a look at some other abandoned venues including those from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, 1984 Games in Sarajevo, and of course the infamous 1936 Games in Berlin. See this this post for some scary photos…

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 6.07.01 PM

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 6.06.31 PM

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 6.06.00 PM

National Geographic had a similar post…while 2004 Athens venues haven’t fared so well (see the first two pics), both the LA Memorial Coliseum and the Moscow Olympic Stadium are in current use. The Moscow stadium, built when the U.S.S.R. hosted the 1980 Olympic Games will host the 2018 World Cup final.

Athens Olympic Aquatic Center Athens Olympic Pavilion LA Memorial Coliseum Moscow Olympic Stadium

Finally, let’s fast forward to the Sochi Games. Yahoo! has a great article – “The forgotten Olympic city: The Sochi Games aren’t actually in Sochi”.

After the opulent sporting venues, hundreds of box hotels, the freshly built amusement park, the new roads and train lines, the colorful, if questionable, brick boardwalk along the Black Sea, and the waterfront “McMansions” (strangely unoccupied) — after all of that — the first thing you notice in Adler are the fences. The fences are everywhere. They are a metallic construct with a stonewall design on the bottom and five wide, brown, faux-wood slats rising up to about eight feet. They line roads, run along back alleys and sometimes fence in other fences.

Full article here.

Sochi 1 Sochi 2

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Alex (@NoviceFlyer) February 14, 2014 - 11:18 am

I was at the Athens Olympic games in ’04, they really don’t do much with the venues anymore. The main Olympic stadium had a retractable roof. I have never seen it closed, in the years I’ve been back and forth lol.

Up&Away February 14, 2014 - 1:19 pm

We went by the Olympic venues in Barcelona last summer. Looked like they were well kept. I found it interesting to see something like this since I’ve never been to an Olympics before. Sad that the other countries don’t keep theirs up and find further uses for them.

Calvin Ong February 14, 2014 - 2:42 pm

As a trojan, love the LA Coliseum.

Brazil's World Cup Stadium Being Used as Parking Lot - Point Me to the Plane May 22, 2015 - 3:38 pm

[…] Related – Sad Before & After Shots of Olympic Venues & Truth Behind Sochi […]

Sad Before & After Rio Olympic Venue Pics - Point Me to the Plane April 2, 2017 - 12:18 pm

[…] These have also been done in the past for Sochi, Beijing, Athens, Sarajevo, and Berlin, check out those here – Sad Before & After Shots of Olympic Venues & Truth Behind Sochi […]


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