The Olympic Games have long been considered an opportunity for countries earn themselves some international prestige. The host city gets immense media coverage and a chance to boost tourism and local morale, and they really go to town in building epic stadiums to showcase their prowess. Yet many argue that the huge cost of hosting the Olympic games means that cities are left with crippling bills and empty stadium once those 17 days are over. Athens is the most frequently cited example of this: completely new arenas were built for the 2004 Games but ten years later many of the structures have been abandoned or are rarely used.
Unfortunately, it’s a familiar story all over the world. A similar outcome occurred in Beijing after the 2008 Olympics, where, despite the $43 billion cost, many of the new facilities have no use. No permanent use was found for the very expensive ($500 million) new stadium, nicknamed ‘the Bird’s Nest’ It now appears that it will be made into a shopping mall while other smaller stadiums are to be demolished. More recently, the Olympics stadium in London from 2012 has been closed for renovation and will re-open in 2016 as the home of Westham Football Club and British Athletics. The more controversial adjoining ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor has been open to the public as an observation tower since April and has received very mixed reviews. I’m not a fan of its design, but what do you think?