The Athens Olympic Park seems to be the ultimate definition of the term white elephant. The games cost a whopping $7 billion – $14 billion to stage with the Greek taxpayers shouldering a large brunt of that. 8 years on they seem to be still paying for it.
The Olympic Stadium itself is still in use and is home to soccer teams AEK and Panathinaikos although it was only refurbished for the Olympics having originally been built in 1982. There are stadia for hockey, baseball and softball but seeing as none are sports which are popular in Greece, they have no use and plans to repurpose them after the games never happened. The same can be said of the canoeing and kayaking slaloms that were to become a waterpark. Most of the venues were abandoned and left to decay.
The following from www.outsideonline.com is about 2 photographers who are aiming to get pictures and videos of what became of former Olympic venues –
As London prepares to host the 2012 Olympics, there’s been no shortage of stories on the condition of the buildings erected for the 2004 Games in Athens. The Olympic sports complex is rotting and rusting, the man-made lake set up to provide water to the slalom course is dry, and the stadiums built for table tennis and gymnastics are empty. The situation is easy to amplify in a negative way given the economic situation in Greece. Many blame the country’s debt, or at least part of it, on a rush to build extravagant facilities for the Olympics. While some have pointed out that Greece’s travel infrastructure was significantly upgraded because of the 2004 Games, Athens has mostly been cast in a negative light. Is that fair? How have other former Olympic stadiums fared? What exactly happens to host cities after the Olympics?
Photographers Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit have set out to answer that last question. So far they have picked seven former host cities to visit so they can interview people and photograph anything and everything related to the Olympics. Their answer will take the form of a 200-page photo book, The Olympic City, due out in March 2013. The duo started a Kickstarter project so they can raise money to travel to seven more cities and finish the project.
Location: Athens, Greece
Category: Ghost Town