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Sochi Olympics are over — what will happen to the venues?
Now that the Olympics are over in Sochi (with the exception of the Paralympics in March), comes one huge question: What will happen to all of the Olympic venues in the years to come?
Will the $51 billion turn out to be a sound investment?
While some cities thrive after the games and make good use of the venues, others, such as Athens fall into disrepair. And there are extreme cases, such as the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo, which would later become the site of more than 10,000 deaths a decade later during the Siege of Sarajevo.
Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit are doing a fascinating and ongoing documentary photo project, called Olympic City Project, examining what happens to an Olympic city after the games are gone.
Here’s a look at some Associated Press photos from various former Olympic venues, showing the very different directions the cities can take years later:
After the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the Olympic Stadium was converted into Turner Field for the Braves, which helped keep the team in downtown Atlanta. But now, the Braves have plans to move after the 2016 season and the stadium will then be torn down to make way for new development. | AP Photo
The abandoned ski jumping facility is seen covered in moss at Mt. Igman near Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Just eight years after the 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. | AP Photo
The Olympic beach volleyball site 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. | AP Photo
Tourists pass by memorabilia on sale near the iconic Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing, China. The National Stadium, nicknamed the Birds Nest because of its lattice design, has become a key Beijing landmark and a favored backdrop for visitors’ snapshots. But 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. 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. | AP Photo
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. | AP Photo
A view of the construction site in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. The Games’ Velodrome is seen 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 Londons 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. | AP Photo