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Athens aftermath: predictable, but sad nonetheless

2005 March 8
by Skip Sauer

The following speaks for itself. From The Age:

When Greece hosted the Balkan indoor athletics championships two weeks ago, the obvious location was one of many state-of-the-art indoor facilities built for the Athens Olympics last year.

But the championships were held instead at a second-rate hall with a leaky roof in Peania, half an hour’s drive from the capital.

The out-of-town and out-of-sight venue illustrates the sorry legacy of the Athens Olympics, hailed at the time as a triumph.

Almost none of the spectacular 36 purpose-built stadiums, which cost more than EUR3 billion ($5 billion), have been used since.

Most have remained shut since last September while ministries and local authorities squabble over ownership and the Government ponders their post-Olympic use.

Even the vast main Olympic complex with its surrounding parks and sports fields is closed to the public.

Built in record time and at a cost well beyond the estimates, dozens of venues and other works face the consequences of what critics say was ill-planned and hasty work.

With no ownership or management plan in place, there is no real maintenance to secure the venues from decay.

Broken glass at the Galatsi indoor arena, serious drainage problems on the marathon route, leaking windows at the indoor hall of the main complex and damage to the Peace and Friendship Stadium are among problems the Government has to tackle.

The aftermath of the Olympic games, across the globe, is a sorry record indeed.

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