Ten years ago this week, the Summer Olympics triumphantly returned to their historic home with splashy opening ceremonies in Athens, Greece. Unfortunately, the glory did not last after the Games. While the dilapidated state of Athens' venues post-Games has been well-documented, new photos taken this week show just how devastating the Olympics were for the city.
Athens reportedly spent $12 billion building brand-new venues specifically for the Games, most of which sit unused today, covered in graffiti, with massive cracks in their exteriors. Like haunting relics from a lost civilization, the stadiums have taken on the same kind of vibe as the 2,500-year-old Parthenon.
It's no secret that of all the cities which have hosted Olympic Games in the last several decades, Athens suffered the worst economic fallout. While the aftermath is certainly not as bad as some cities—Sarajevo, for example, was torn apart by a bitter civil war just a few years after hosting the Winter Olympics—Athens seems to be a special case. Some say the economic devastation wrought upon Greece in the last decade was due to the government financially overextending itself just to host the Games.
We've written extensively about the issues many cities face after the Games due to pressure from the IOC to overbuild. Just one look at these images proves how much reform is desperately needed.
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Photos by Milos Bicanski / Getty Images Sport