FanDuel - WFBC

February 24, 2014

How Cities Fared After the Olympics Left Town: CBS News returns to the Olympic Games venues of the past three decades to see how many of the facilities constructed for the event are still around benefiting their communities. The gold medal of sadness goes to 1984 host Sarajevo: "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."

posted by rcade to olympics at 08:48 PM - 14 comments

My thought was that Sochi must be a ghost town already and a perfect place for the former president of Ukraine to take up residence in exile.

NYT has a piece on lack of a plan or a vision for the place going forward, and no commitment to either proper building standards or completing structures that were only partially done by the time the games began, so Sochi could become worse than other former venues fairly quickly.

There are a couple of online slideshows of the Sarajevo facilities. Utterly demoralizing. A movie location that Werner Herzog could build a script around. I can see a latter day Klaus Kinski trying to get a rusted luge to glide over vines and bare concrete in the summertime.

posted by beaverboard at 09:21 PM on February 24

The Sydney Olympic venues have been absorbed into the city's sporting culture and geography, which surprises some of us (me included) who thought there would be a few white elephants.

Australia has had a period of unparalleled economic growth over that period, particularly in Sydney where property values remain astronomical. Beijing will also pick up and move on very quickly, and the infrastructure built for the games will become just part of the city.

The same can't be said for places like Athens (and maybe London), where there's been a significant post GFC economic malaise. And Sarajevo. Poor Sarajevo. Not just the war - I was there in 2012 and liked Bosnia in general, but their economy is stalled and young people are moving west.

posted by owlhouse at 12:11 AM on February 25

My wife and I were in Barcelona in 2012, and I can attest to how much the city benefited from the Olympics. The hop-on/off tour bus pointed out lots of roads/facilities that were built for the Olympics, and how they are used today.

Especially impressive was the road system. For a large European city, Barcelona seemed to have the least amount of traffic issues I've visited, even with these beautiful and expansive walking boulevards in the middle of the streets.

Side note: If you've never been to Barcelona, I HIGHLY recommend it. Beautiful beaches, wonderful history, modern design, and fascinating touristy areas, too.

posted by grum@work at 08:30 AM on February 25

NYT has a piece on lack of a plan or a vision for the place going forward

Given the actual Sochi climate, I'd think the luge & bobsled tracks could become a waterpark.

Australia has had a period of unparalleled economic growth over that period, particularly in Sydney

Given that, do you feel Sydney's success in repurposing the venues is mostly due to the boom in commodity prices after the Games or smarter planning?

posted by yerfatma at 09:05 AM on February 25

I think Barcelona is what every city submitting bids to host the games hopes for, but I don't think that most cities can quite so easily replicate its success. I think Barcelona was somewhat of a world cultural capital that people had sort of forgotten about or overlooked for some time, I'd guess due to the Franco regime, and the Olympics reminded people how great a city it was. I don't know how many cities have that kind of potential for revitalization. Atlanta doesn't have the cultural capital, and most other cities that have hosted since were the dominant cities in their country anyway. I'd think for a city to follow the Barcelona model, it'd have to be some major city that had sort of recently escaped some kind of oppressive government, so maybe Eastern Bloc capitals or Santiago, Chile or something. But then, I don't know if the Beijing games attracted people to Beijing or scared them away with all the pollution.

posted by LionIndex at 10:46 AM on February 25

I had to laugh at the Onion's (NSFW) video suggesting that Sochi would be turned into a resort where Russian oligarchs could take their prostitutes.

The interesting thing about Sochi is that the main stadium, which only hosted the opening and closing ceremony, was built with the intention of becoming a training facility and venue for the national football team.

Atlanta's venues were often arranged in a pretty crappy spread-out way, and I'm pretty sure it set a precedent for the IOC to demand something more coherent, even if that leaves the problem of what to do with venues afterward.

When I was in London last year, I headed out to the grotesque Westfield mall and got to see the park from the edge of the large fence surrounding it: it re-opened briefly later in the summer for a few events, but it's only going to be (somewhat) open again in April. That's a reminder of how the "legacy" requires a lot more work on top of everything done for the few weeks the Olympic roadshow is in town and access is eased by hundreds of volunteers.

posted by etagloh at 12:58 PM on February 25

If I go to Albertville, would I be able to see the fireplace that Paula Zahn and Tim McCarver cozied up to in an effort to make the winter games seem like a cup of grandmother's hot cocoa?

Is McCarver's Olympic turtleneck on permanent display anywhere nearby? Is there an audio archive of him pronouncing venue names like Pralognan la Vanoise?

posted by beaverboard at 01:41 PM on February 25

Seoul, Korea, Olympics were spread out around the country. It did not seem to be much of a problem, since transportation within the country was fast and convenient. I was aboard USS Midway at the time. Along with another aircraft carrier (USS Carl Vinson, I think) we were playing "security guard" in the Sea of Japan. Other than riding out a pretty good typhoon the cruise was unexciting. We had a few days of liberty in Pusan, and there were some tickets for events available through the ship's special services. I opted for some of the local events that were held in the watering holes of "Texas Street" in Pusan. I've not been back to Korea since 1989, and there was no evidence of any positive or negative change in Pusan.

posted by Howard_T at 04:01 PM on February 25

Given that, do you feel Sydney's success in repurposing the venues is mostly due to the boom in commodity prices after the Games or smarter planning?

Bit of both, I think. Homebush Bay is in the geographic centre of Sydney's western sprawl, so all the transport infrastructure built for the Games was in the right place. As well, the athlete's village (Newington) now looks like normal housing in the surrounding suburbs. In Sydney, growth is going both out (beyond the Olympic sites) and up (changing low density to medium).

I'm not sure all of it was deliberate, though. Ask a Sydneysider about "planning" and see what kind of laugh you get in reply!

posted by owlhouse at 05:16 PM on February 25

And also be sure to ask Kitty Flanagan about the living costs.

posted by beaverboard at 06:31 PM on February 25

I've not been back to Korea since 1989, and there was no evidence of any positive or negative change in Pusan.

I was last there in 2009. Biggest change would be that the Russians are a lot more involved in the region since the fall of the wall (Pusan is a pretty big port for imports for them and exports to them). Also, the Russkies have opened up a retirement home for old prostitutes somewhere around Texas Street, judging by the street walkers.

They always know how to welcome sailors (and the liberty buses still drop us off there, too).

posted by Bonkers at 07:58 PM on February 25

And also be sure to ask Kitty Flanagan about the living costs.

People should be subsidized due to the high cost of living in their area? That should definitely fix the problem.

posted by yerfatma at 08:30 AM on February 26

Shhhhh. The Swans get extra salary cap leeway because of the higher costs of living in Sydney. Let's keep it that way.

/Even though Buddy Franklin rents out my garage for $200 a week. He's messy, but he mows my lawn well.

posted by owlhouse at 09:27 AM on February 26

They always know how to welcome sailors (and the liberty buses still drop us off there, too).

What happens on cruise stays on cruise. You're giving away all of our secrets. Is Green Street still open for the window shopping?

posted by Howard_T at 02:49 PM on February 26

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