IOC Report Finds Over 85% Of All Permanent Olympic Venues Are Still In Use

The International Olympic Committee has released a report detailing the use of Olympic venues after every Olympic Games for the last 125 years titled “Over 125 Years of Olympic Venues: Post-Games Use”. 

The report was compiled based off of research conducted by the Olympic Studies Centre, which looked at the use of 923 Olympic venues from the Athens 1896 Games through the 2018 PyeongChang Games. It was found that over 85 percent of all permanent Olympic venues are still in use today, while more than 92 percent of the permanent venues from the 21st century are still in use. Only 35 of such venues have been closed or abandoned due to various reasons. In order for a venue to be classified as “permanent” rather than “temporary”, it must have been built with the intention of being a long-lasting structure that remains at its site after the Games have concluded. 

Although the research was conducted by the Olympic Studies Centre, the project was funded by the IOC, which could have impacted its overall results. 

Percentages of Summer Olympic Venues Still in Use vs Not Used: 

Year Location Number of Venues Percentage of Venues Still In Use
Percentage of Venues Not in Use
1896 Athens, Greece 7 86% 14%
1900 Paris, France 15 67% 33%
1904 St. Louis, Missouri 6 100% 0%
1908 London, England 14 62% 38%
1912 Stockholm, Sweden 16 67% 33%
1920 Antwerp, Belgium 19 59% 18%
1924 Paris, France 21 63% 37%
1928 Amsterdam, Netherlands 12 50% 50%
1932 Los Angeles, California 13 90% 10%
1936 Berlin, Germany 20 70% 30%
1948 London, England 29 68% 32%
1952 Helsinki, Finland 19 89% 11%
1956 Melbourne, Australia 16 72%* 22%
1960 Rome, Italy 26 81% 19%
1964 Tokyo, Japan 30 92% 8%
1968 Mexico City, Mexico 23 92% 8%
1972 Munich, Germany 32 79% 21%
1976 Montreal, Canada 24 92% 8%
1980 Moscow, Soviet Union 27 78% 22%
1984 Los Angeles, California 26 92% 8%
1988 Seoul, Republic of Korea 30 93% 7%
1992 Barcelona, Spain 38 94% 6%
1996 Atlanta, Georgia 28 85% 15%
2000 Sydney, Australia 30 96% 4%
2004 Athens, Greece 33 75% 25%
2008 Beijing, China 39 97% 3%
2012 London, Great Britain 30 95% 5%
2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 34 93% 7%

 

Percentages of Winter Olympics Venues Still In Use vs. Not Used

Year Location Number of Venues Percentage of Venues Still In Use
Percentage of Venues Not in Use
1924 Chamonix, France 3 100% 0%
1928 St. Moritz, Switzerland 5 33% 67%
1932 Lake Placid, New York 6 100% 0%
1936 Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany 6 100% 0%
1948 San Moritz, Switzerland 8 67% 33%
1952 Oslo, Norway 11 92% 8%
1956 Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy 8 67% 33%
1960 Squaw Valley, California 6 50% 50%
1964 Innsbruck, Austria 9 100% 0%
1968 Grenoble, France 9 80% 20%
1972 Sapporo, Japan 13 83% 17%
1976 Innsbruck, Austria 9 100% 0%
1980 Lake Placid, New York 7 100% 0%
1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia 8 80% 20%
1988 Calgary, Canada 10 75% 25%
1992 Albertville, France 10 100% 0%
1994 Lillehammer, Norway 10 100% 0%
1998 Nagano, Japan 14 100% 0%
2002 Salt Lake City, Utah 10 100% 0%
2006 Torino, Italy 13 87% 0%
2010 Vancouver, Canada 9 100% 0%
2014 Sochi, Russia 10 100% 0%
2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea 12 86% 14%

Overall, Winter Olympic venues were found to still be in use more frequently than Summer Olympic venues, with 12 out of 23 host cities still using 100% of their permanent venues. Only one Summer Olympics host still uses 100% of its venues: St. Louis, Missouri, which had 6 different permanent venues in 1904. These venues include: 

  •  Francis Field Stadium: Archery, gymnastics, athletics, cycling (track), football, lacrosse, roque, tug of war, weightlifting, and wrestling
  •  Creve Coeur Lake: Rowing 
  • Glen Echo Country Club: Golf 
  • Physical Culture Gymnasium: Boxing, fencing
  • Dirt Courts near Francis Field: Tennis

All of the venues used, with the exception of the Dirt Courts, were existing venues prior to the Games. Currently, Francis Field, the Physical Culture Gymnasium, and Dirt Courts are all owned and operated by Washington University in St. Louis, the Glen Echo Country Club remains in business as a golf club and function space, while Creve Coeur Lake is home to the St. Louis Rowing Club. The only Olympic venue in St. Louis that was removed was the temporary US Life Saving Lake/ Life Saving Exhibition Lake that hosted the swimming, diving, and water polo events. 

The IOC’s report also reveals that despite claims of abandonment and decaying venues from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, only 7% of such venues are no longer in use, including the Olympic Aquatics Stadium that hosted the swimming and water polo events at the Games. Although the structure was originally intended to be temporary, it has not been dismantled, and photos show that it appears to be abandoned. In 2020, a judge ordered the closure of the Rio Olympic Park over safety concerns. There was only one Olympics, winter or summer, from which less than half of its venues remain in use: the 1928 Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. With only 5 permanent venues, only 33% of them still remain in use, with the rest being dismantled over time. 

 

 

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Personal Best
6 months ago

It’s an interesting report to say the least. Looking through the actual report, the top line figures quoted above don’t distinguish between purpose built facilities and pre-existing facilities.

A pre-existing facility that is no longer used after an Olympics is not necessarily a failure of the Olympics (unless the venue went into disrepair because say, it was no longer financially viable given new competing venues built – which is not sustainable practice, or the host city/country didn’t have the funds for its upkeep following financial loss on the games). This is not the case for a number of recent host cities.

In Sydney, the Entertainment Centre, a pre-existing building from the 80s is not ‘not in-use’. It was replaced… Read more »

Georgia Rambler
6 months ago

As an historian who has taught graduate classes on the Olympics, this reads like a very biased report. Not what I discovered a few years ago.

Horninco
6 months ago

“In use” might be a very loose statement that’s hard to prove and disprove

BaldingEagle
Reply to  Horninco
6 months ago

Like the Aegean Sea, the swimming venue in 1896.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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