Olympic cities · Olympic venues · Sarajevo 1984 · Winter Olympics

Old Venues, Not Dead Venues

Because it’s an Olympic year–and because Rio 2016 had budget problems–we had to go through another round of Venue Talk: They’ll Never Be Used Again (What a Waste of Money).

It’s a topic that I understand is very true, but it’s also one that I think is a little blown out of proportion. Sure, there is a real problem with massive venues built for the Olympics and then never (or rarely) used again, but there is a lot of venue reuse–or, venues being brought back to life.

Case in point, the bobsled and luge track in Sarajevo. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and you’ll invariably see the carnage from the 1984 Winter Olympics, which war brought about.

Unfortunately, those articles will stick around in web searches (and other bloggers are going to find them and repost them), and they might still supplant this news: The 1984 bobsled and luge run is back in action (sort of).

The Associated Press has reported that a bunch of volunteers have spent the last few years cleaning up the track and repairing it so that it’s usable as a training facility. At first, the goal was for Bosnians to be able to do their summer training on it, but word’s gotten out and now it’s becoming a regional training center because the original track is one of the best in the area.

To me, that’s the Olympic spirit at work. Don’t give up–keep at it until you achieve victory. Even though the reports are that the facilities are still pretty grim (e.g.-no bathrooms), it’s really remarkable that the luging community in Bosnia saw an opportunity and is making something happen.

The article notes that other facilities are coming back as well (or are in the planning stages of coming back). Let’s hope that some of the other abandoned facilities around the world can get life breathed back into them as well.

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