10 Years Since the Olympics, These Photos Show What Athens Has Become

10 Years Since the Olympics, These Photos Show What Athens Has Become

The 2004 Athens Olympic opening ceremony was a lavish, somewhat creepy celebration of Greece’s storied history.

For the first time since the inaugural modern Olympiad in 1896, the Games were back where they started. And Greece, its citizens hoped, was on the brink of a return to prosperity.

What a difference 10 years makes.

A decade after the staging of the Summer Games, Greece has spent the past five years mired in an economic crisis. Although the degree to which the Games hurt the country’s economy is still debated, there’s no doubt that the 2004 Olympics were too much for the country to handle, with last-minute construction resulting in Greece spending a total of somewhere between $11 to 17 billion to stage the Games. 

In the proceeding years, some of Athens’ Olympic venues have been converted to other uses, including the International Broadcasting Center, which is now a mall, and the badminton venue, which has become a theater. Many of the arenas, however, have yet to find a secondary use. Instead, the venues lie unused and obsolete, with the seats crumbling and the fields having turned to dust. Ten years later, the feats achieved in these Athenian settings could not seem more distant.

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