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THEN AND NOW: What 10 Olympic stadiums look like today

Summary List PlacementBerlin hosted the Summer Olympics in 1936, mainly from the Olympiastadion Berlin, or Olympic Stadium. The Olympiastadion was built new for the 1936 Summer Games — a different stadium was used when Berlin hosted the Winter Games earlier that year.  Almost 90 years later, some of the venues from the Berlin Olympics are empty and abandoned, but the Olympiastadion is still being used today. After Germany was reunified in the '90s, it wasn't clear what Berliners would do with the stadium. Eventually, it was renovated and reopened in 2004. It's now the biggest stadium in Germany, has hosted the 2006 FIFA...

An aerial view of the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Summary List Placement

Berlin hosted the Summer Olympics in 1936, mainly from the Olympiastadion Berlin, or Olympic Stadium.

The Olympiastadion was built new for the 1936 Summer Games — a different stadium was used when Berlin hosted the Winter Games earlier that year. 

Almost 90 years later, some of the venues from the Berlin Olympics are empty and abandoned, but the Olympiastadion is still being used today.

After Germany was reunified in the ’90s, it wasn’t clear what Berliners would do with the stadium. Eventually, it was renovated and reopened in 2004. It’s now the biggest stadium in Germany, has hosted the 2006 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and has been the home stadium for Hertha BSC since 1963.

However, some of the other venues from the Berlin Olympics are abandoned, including the swim hall and Olympic village.

When Tokyo originally hosted the Olympics in 1964, the National Stadium was used as the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.

The National Stadium’s first big event was the 1958 Asian Games. It remained a popular site for sporting events until it closed in 2014, and it even remained unscathed during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

The Japan National Stadium opened in 2016 on the grounds of the original stadium, and it will be the hub for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It cost over $1 billion to construct the new stadium. After the games, it’ll be used by the national soccer and rugby teams.

Montreal’s biggest Olympic venue, the Stade Olympique, opened for the 1976 Summer Games.

The stadium has been nicknamed the “big O” by locals for its distinct shape – or the “big owe” for how much it cost the city at the time.

The stadium hasn’t had a permanent tenant since the Montreal Expos left in 2004.

The Expos moved to Washington, DC, and became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

 

The opening ceremony of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, was held at the temporary Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium.

The fields for equestrian events were already there, but the stands for the 30,000 spectators that day were constructed specifically for the games, and they were later taken down.

You can still visit the Olympic grounds in Lake Placid and look at various venues and locations, but the Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium is gone.

You can learn more about visiting here.

The closing ceremonies of the 1984 games in Sarajevo were held inside the Zetra Olympic Hall.

The 1984 Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo, one of the biggest cities in Yugoslavia, a country that would break up and splinter into multiple countries only a few years later, in 1991.

 

It’s now called the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Hall and sits next to a cemetery memorializing those who died during the siege of Sarajevo.

After Yugoslavia broke up, Sarajevo became the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was subsequently bombed and under siege for almost four years, destroying the original Zetra Ice Hall.

The Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Hall was rebuilt in 1999, with the help of a donation from the International Olympic Committee.

Other sites used in the games have since been left to the elements.

The centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia, was Centennial Olympic Stadium.

The Atlanta games, unfortunately, will always be remembered for the infamous bombing on July 27.

But after the Olympics, the stadium remained a huge presence in the city. It was shortly turned into Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves from 1997 to 2016.

It changed from Centennial Olympic Stadium to Turner Field to Center Parc Stadium.

After the Braves departed, Georgia State University acquired the stadium and redesigned it for their football team, the Panthers, who have called Center Parc home since 2017.

The Olympic Stadium of Athens, used for the 2004 Summer Games, is nicknamed “Spyros Louis” after the famed Greek Olympian.

The stadium was originally designed and built in the ’80s, so Athens could host the 1982 European Championships in Athletics, but it received a major renovation for the 2004 Games, including a new roof.

Now, multiple Greek soccer teams share the stadium with touring musicians, like Lady Gaga, U2, and Celine Dion in 2023.

While some other Olympic venues have seemingly remained untouched since the 2004 games, the site of the opening and closing ceremonies is quite busy.

In 2008, the Summer Olympics were held in Beijing, China. The festivities were opened and closed at the Beijing National Stadium.

The Beijing National Stadium, or the “Bird’s Nest,” was built specifically for the 2008 Summer Games, inside Beijing’s constructed Olympic Green complex. It’s been used for car racing and other events since the games.

In 2022, the Beijing National Stadium will become one of a few Olympic stadiums to be used for both summer and winter games.

When Beijing once again hosts the Olympics — this time the Winter Olympics in 2022 — the National Stadium will be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.

In the time since the 2008 Olympics, though, the National Stadium hasn’t seen much action in terms of sporting events or concerts. However, it does manage to be profitable, since the city charges admission for tours.

Fisht Olympic Stadium was the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of Sochi 2014 in Russia.

Fisht Stadium was specifically built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was built as an enclosed facility. 

It was renovated to be an open-air arena in 2016 to make the field compliant with FIFA regulations.

This renovation was in preparation of Russia hosting the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and then the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Additionally, Russian soccer team PFC Sochi plays at Fisht.

The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both the opening and closing ceremonies were held in Maracanã Stadium.

Soccer and track and field events were also held in Maracanã Stadium, which was originally built in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup.

Maracanã Stadium fell into disrepair after the Olympics ended, but new managers acquired the stadium and invested in the arena.

Most recently, the stadium held the finals for the 2021 Copa América — an international competition between men’s soccer teams in South America — in July 2021. The Copa América finals were also played in Maracanã in 2019.

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