News / Europe

Experts Worry Sochi Facilities Will Not Be Used After Olympics

Experts Worry Sochi Facilities Will Not Be Used After the Olympicsi
February 04, 2014 9:53 PM
For 17 days, the world’s attention will be on the Russian city of Sochi for the Winter Olympics. But what happens when the games are over and the athletes leave? Some experts fear the facilities, build at great expense, will go unused and fall into decay. Brian Allen reports.
Brian Allen
For 17 days, the world’s attention will be on the Russian city of Sochi for the Winter Olympics.  But what happens when the games are over and the athletes leave? Some experts fear the facilities, build at great expense, will go unused and fall into decay.

In a dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony fireworks explode over Fisht Olympic Stadium, one of seven brand new facilities for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

But it’s what happens after the close of the games, that concerns Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a sports management professor at George Washington University.

“This is the first Winter Olympic games that has an Olympic park, where all seven venues were built specifically for the Olympic games in a specific area. And I do not think that is the best model, because there is just no use for, typically, seven big venues in a circle. It’s better to spread it out across the area.”

These games are estimated to cost Russia $50 billion. As the pricetag to host an Olympics skyrockets, Delpy Neirotti says proper planning is vital - especially after the games are over.

“It’s going to be a challenge to utilize all of those facilities [after the games]," she said.

The Beijing National Stadium and National Aquatics Center were the jewels of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Today, China struggles to draw visitors and events. The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, as they were nicknamed, cost more than half a billion dollars to build.

In Greece, Athens’ Olympic park is abandoned, overrun with weeds, and closed to the public.

Even the London Olympics in 2012, which promised to revitalize the east end of the city, has had mixed results - says one man who lives nearby.

“It was like a building site while they were doing it. It was like a holiday park when it was on. And when they’re all gone, it’s like the circus has left town,” says Bob Sweeney, the CEO of DC2024, a group bidding to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Washington, D.C. 

He says the London games also perfected an existing concept: temporary facilities.

“Their basketball venue was a brilliant example of steel construction, high-quality interior, wrapped in plastic, and it was immediately taken down after the games. It was about a third of the cost of building a permanent construction project for the games,” he explained.

Sweeney promised temporary facilities would be used in the Washington bid.  Temporary venues and facilities that can be downsized after the games factor into many future Olympic bids.

Delpy Neirotti says that’s not the case in Sochi.

“In Sochi, the concern there is that it is a very small town, they put these seven facilities in one circle with not much else happening around them. Originally two of those facilities were going to be temporary and taken to a different location [after the games], but the plans changed,” she said.

She says she fears what will become of those facilities after the games.

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Comment Sorting
by: William from: USA
February 10, 2014 3:06 AM
Well it's Russias problem not ours... If they wanna throw money out the window which they've been known to do then let it be.

by: RDP
February 08, 2014 10:45 AM
It will be used... Fifa World Cup 2018 is gonna be in Sochi! and an F1 Grand Prix stop is gonna be there too! One of 19 races in the whole season... lots comin for Sochi... some experts...
In Response

by: Cara from: USA
February 09, 2014 10:37 AM
Nice! Two events on the list so far-- that should keep the site going.

by: Bruce Higging from: San Diego, CA, USA
February 04, 2014 7:37 PM
The cost of the Olympics is becoming burdensome to the host countries. Both the monetary cost and societal cost of building and maintaining an Olympic Village. Why not have a permanent Olympic site which is supported by all countries who compete? Facilities would be built, used regularly, without having to destroy villages to put up a stadium. When not hosting an Olympics they could be used for training, World Cups, etc.

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