Hosting the Olympics is an honour most places can only dream of. While the games are on, the world tunes in to watch your city take centre stage. There’s glory. There’s money. There’s new infrastructure. There’s a sporting legacy for the ages.
Or is there?
In fact, Olympic host nations often can’t afford the billions of dollars it costs to support the games. The dream dies as soon as the crowds and athletes exit the arenas, leaving impractical structures and crippling debt in their wake.
Today the planet is littered with abandoned Olympic venues, shed like snake skins. From stadiums to ski jumps, pools to podiums, these crumbling remnants have been left to the elements – and to the photographers, graffiti artists, and urban explorers who have made them their personal playgrounds.
The lonely Olympic monoliths are now a favourite subject for photojournalists. With all eyes currently on the XXXI Olympiad in Rio, take a tour through these haunting reminders of games gone by.