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After the Olympics

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For athletes and spectators at Sochi, it's time to pack up. But for the host cities, the real challenge begins with the end of the Olympics. How do they continue to use the expensive stadiums after the party's over? What happens to the athletes' villages? What is the legacy of the games? Here's a look at what some past Summer and Winter Games sites around the world look like post-Olympics.

  • A view of the construction site in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. The Games' Velodrome is seen at left. London continues to bask in the success of the most recent Summer Games, but the Olympic legacy is difficult to determine. The flagship venue, renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is being converted into a massive park as big as London's famous Hyde Park, complete with wildlife habitats, woods and sports facilities. The first part of the ambitious project will begin to open to the public in April. The 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium at the center of the park has been troubled by controversy since even before the games, and its post-games use was the subject of months of legal wrangling. The stadium is now being converted into a soccer venue and the home of the West Ham soccer club, with an expected price tag of $323 million. Many argue taxpayers should not have to fund a Premier League club, though officials insist that the stadium will continue to host other major sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

    Lefteris Pitarakis / The Associated Press

    A view of the construction site in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. The Games' Velodrome is seen at left. London continues to bask in the success of the most recent Summer Games, but the Olympic legacy is difficult to determine. The flagship venue, renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is being converted into a massive park as big as London's famous Hyde Park, complete with wildlife habitats, woods and sports facilities. The first part of the ambitious project will begin to open to the public in April. The 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium at the center of the park has been troubled by controversy since even before the games, and its post-games use was the subject of months of legal wrangling. The stadium is now being converted into a soccer venue and the home of the West Ham soccer club, with an expected price tag of $323 million. Many argue taxpayers should not have to fund a Premier League club, though officials insist that the stadium will continue to host other major sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

  • Team Canada skates during the women's team pursuit quarterfinals speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. All games venues in Vancouver remain in use, with local authorities funding a $110 million trust to make sure that they don't fall into disrepair.

    Chris Carlson / The Associated Press

    Team Canada skates during the women's team pursuit quarterfinals speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. All games venues in Vancouver remain in use, with local authorities funding a $110 million trust to make sure that they don't fall into disrepair.

  • Tourists dressed in traditional imperial costumes poses for photos in a booth near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. The National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest because of its lattice design, has become a key Beijing landmark and a favored backdrop for visitors' snapshots.

    Ng Han Guan / The Associated Press

    Tourists dressed in traditional imperial costumes poses for photos in a booth near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. The National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest because of its lattice design, has become a key Beijing landmark and a favored backdrop for visitors' snapshots.

  • Tourists pass by memorabilia on sale near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. Few tourists are willing to pay more than $8 to tour the facility as enthusiasm for the 2008 Games fades, and the venue has struggled to fill its space with events.

    Ng Han Guan / The Associated Press

    Tourists pass by memorabilia on sale near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. Few tourists are willing to pay more than $8 to tour the facility as enthusiasm for the 2008 Games fades, and the venue has struggled to fill its space with events.

  • A tourist poses near giant sculptures near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China.  Beijing, which spent more than $2 billion to build 31 venues for the 2008 Summer Games, is reaping some income and tourism benefits from two flagship venues, though many sites need government subsidies to meet hefty operation and maintenance costs.

    Ng Han Guan / The Associated Press

    A tourist poses near giant sculptures near the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. Beijing, which spent more than $2 billion to build 31 venues for the 2008 Summer Games, is reaping some income and tourism benefits from two flagship venues, though many sites need government subsidies to meet hefty operation and maintenance costs.

  • The Olympic beach volleyball lies abandoned in southern Athens. The legacy of Athens Olympics has stirred vigorous debate, and Greek authorities have been widely criticized for not having a post-Games plan for the infrastructure.

    Thanassis Stavrakis / The Associated Press

    The Olympic beach volleyball lies abandoned in southern Athens. The legacy of Athens Olympics has stirred vigorous debate, and Greek authorities have been widely criticized for not having a post-Games plan for the infrastructure.

  • Weeds sprout in the remains of what was once the playing field at the abandoned Olympic softball venue in southern Athens. While some of the venues built specifically for the games have been converted for other uses, many are underused or abandoned, and very few provide the state with any revenue.

    Thanassis Stavrakis / The Associated Press

    Weeds sprout in the remains of what was once the playing field at the abandoned Olympic softball venue in southern Athens. While some of the venues built specifically for the games have been converted for other uses, many are underused or abandoned, and very few provide the state with any revenue.

  • Murky water and rubbish fill an abandoned training pool for athletes at the Olympic village on the northern fringes of Athens. Some critics say that the multibillion dollar cost of the Greek games played a modest role in the nation's 2008 economic meltdown.

    Thanassis Stavrakis / The Associated Press

    Murky water and rubbish fill an abandoned training pool for athletes at the Olympic village on the northern fringes of Athens. Some critics say that the multibillion dollar cost of the Greek games played a modest role in the nation's 2008 economic meltdown.

  • Patrons walk near the entrance of Sydney Aquatic Centre in Sydney. Before the 2000 summer Olympics, the site west of Sydney where the 1580-acre Sydney Olympic Park was built was a grungy, desolate wasteland of slaughterhouses, garbage dumps and factories. Since the games, it has slowly developed into its own suburb with hotels, offices, restaurants and parklands. The park now hosts thousands of events each year, from music festivals to sports to business conferences, drawing more than 12 million annual visitors.

    Rick Rycroft / The Associated Press

    Patrons walk near the entrance of Sydney Aquatic Centre in Sydney. Before the 2000 summer Olympics, the site west of Sydney where the 1580-acre Sydney Olympic Park was built was a grungy, desolate wasteland of slaughterhouses, garbage dumps and factories. Since the games, it has slowly developed into its own suburb with hotels, offices, restaurants and parklands. The park now hosts thousands of events each year, from music festivals to sports to business conferences, drawing more than 12 million annual visitors.

  • This Sept. 1997 photo shows the Aqua Wing Arena, ahead of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, central Japan. In Nagano, a city with a population of just 387,000, five large structures were built for the 1998 Winter Games.  They remain in use, though many complain that the venues are too big and costly to maintain for the size of the town.

    Kyodo News / The Associated Press

    This Sept. 1997 photo shows the Aqua Wing Arena, ahead of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, central Japan. In Nagano, a city with a population of just 387,000, five large structures were built for the 1998 Winter Games. They remain in use, though many complain that the venues are too big and costly to maintain for the size of the town.

  • In this April 16, 2000 photo, a ceremony is held to unveil a baseball stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium, which was used for the opening and closing ceremony for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, in Nagano, central Japan.

    Kyodo News / The Associated Press

    In this April 16, 2000 photo, a ceremony is held to unveil a baseball stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium, which was used for the opening and closing ceremony for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, in Nagano, central Japan.

  • In this Dec. 1997 photo, the Olympic Stadium is seen, ahead of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, central Japan. The Olympic Stadium has been converted into a baseball stadium. Nagano doesn't have a professional team, though other teams play there on occasion.

    Kyodo News / The Associated Press

    In this Dec. 1997 photo, the Olympic Stadium is seen, ahead of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, central Japan. The Olympic Stadium has been converted into a baseball stadium. Nagano doesn't have a professional team, though other teams play there on occasion.

  • This is a March 29, 1997 file photo of baseball fans as they fill the stands as the Atlanta Braves play an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, the first baseball game ever to be played in the new Turner Field in Atlanta. Converting the Olympic Stadium to a baseball park helped to keep the Braves in downtown Atlanta.

    RIC FELD / The Associated Press

    This is a March 29, 1997 file photo of baseball fans as they fill the stands as the Atlanta Braves play an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, the first baseball game ever to be played in the new Turner Field in Atlanta. Converting the Olympic Stadium to a baseball park helped to keep the Braves in downtown Atlanta.

  • An empty chairlift is seen near the ski jumping facility at Mt. Igman near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Wartime destruction and negligence have turned most of Sarajevo's 1984 Winter Olympic venues into painful reminders of the city's golden times.

    Amel Emric / The Associated Press

    An empty chairlift is seen near the ski jumping facility at Mt. Igman near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Wartime destruction and negligence have turned most of Sarajevo's 1984 Winter Olympic venues into painful reminders of the city's golden times.

  • The bobsleigh track damaged by artillery fire is painted with graffiti at Mt. Trebevic near Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The world came together in the former Yugoslavia in 1984 after the West had boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Russia boycotted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

    Amel Emric / The Associated Press

    The bobsleigh track damaged by artillery fire is painted with graffiti at Mt. Trebevic near Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The world came together in the former Yugoslavia in 1984 after the West had boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Russia boycotted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

  • The abandoned ski jumping facility is seen covered in moss at Mt. Igman near Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.  Just eight years after the 1884 Olympics, the bobsleigh and luge track on Mount Trbevic was turned into an artillery position from which Bosnian Serbs pounded the city for almost four years. Today, the abandoned concrete construction looks like a skeleton littered with graffiti.

    Amel Emric / The Associated Press

    The abandoned ski jumping facility is seen covered in moss at Mt. Igman near Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Just eight years after the 1884 Olympics, the bobsleigh and luge track on Mount Trbevic was turned into an artillery position from which Bosnian Serbs pounded the city for almost four years. Today, the abandoned concrete construction looks like a skeleton littered with graffiti.

  • Graffiti by London creative collective The Lurkers

    Amel Emric / The Associated Press

    Graffiti by London creative collective The Lurkers "The Lurkers do Sarajevo" is written on a destroyed hotel at Mt. Igman.

  • A concrete podium for winners with the text

    Amel Emric / The Associated Press

    A concrete podium for winners with the text "Winter Olympic Games 1984" stands abandoned near jumping hills at Mt. Igman near the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

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