Abandoned Arenas of Athens’ 2004 Olympic Games

athens-2004-olympics-abandoned (All images by Ioanna Sakellaraki (see website), reproduced with permission)

Ten years ago the Greek capital Athens was poised to host the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. Locals swelled with pride and at a cost of around $11 billion, it was sure to be an awesome spectacle. But a decade later as Greece buckles under the ongoing strain of recession and unemployment, much of that multi-billion dollar infrastructure built on the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport stands abandoned, inviting many to question whether it was all worthwhile.

It’s startling to think that, also in Athens, one of the world’s oldest sports arenas – the Panathenaic Stadium, which dates to 329 BC and was refurbished in 1895 – remains in use today. Yet these cutting-edge examples of modern sporting architecture, barely 10-years-old, are already falling into ruin.

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These images by Ioanna Sakellaraki represent the controversial legacy of Athens’ 2004 Summer Olympic Games, offering a cautionary reminder of how hard it can be to re-purpose or reuse former Olympic facilities after the closing ceremony. While some venues have found new uses, time will tell what becomes of those that haven’t.

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