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Re: Sochi 2014 Olympic Games
It'll be interesting to see what happens with Sochi in the future.
Sochi’s bleak future: What happens to Olympic cities after the Olympics are over?
A look back at former Olympic hosts reveals why the Russian city could be in deep trouble
Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 11:00 AM PST
For a city, there’s nothing quite like the glory of winning an Olympic bid. The highly competitive process starts nine years before the games and involves untold amounts of campaigning and planning. Once selected, fortunate cities have seven years to prepare, updating their infrastructure and building new, impressive facilities. If they pull it off, they get two weeks to show it all off to the entire world.
Then the Games end, and the world moves on. No longer hosts, but forever Olympic cities, those left behind must figure out what to do next. Theoretically, this is something they should have been planning for all along, but as Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit have discovered, that isn’t always the case. Intrigued by the high price tag on the Beijing Olympics — before Sochi, $41 billion sounded like a lot of money — the two began returning to the former Olympic sites, photographing the post-games buildings and people they encountered in Athens, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Helsinki, Mexico City, Moscow, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Lake Placid, Rome and Sarajevo.
The results of their their ongoing exploration, called The Olympic City Project, are dispiriting. While they found that some cities continue to thrive, others, like Athens, ended up as ghost towns. Others still became scenes of tragedy: The same spot where the 1984 Winter Games were held, for example, would later become the site of over 10,000 deaths during the Siege of Sarajevo less than a decade later.
So what’s next for Sochi? Russia poured $51 billion into revamping the beach town into a world-class ski resort, dwarfing previous games in both cost and scale — although at a terrible environmental price. The casualties of those efforts include rampant water pollution, thousands of displaced residents and an entire ecosystem arguably destroyed. In about five years, Pack and Hustwit said, they plan to go and see what happens for themselves — but they aren’t very optimistic about its prospects.
Read on for a conversation with Pack and Hustwit about the future of Olympic cities, and for a selection of their photographs from around the world. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Look at these eyebrows. These are attack eyebrows! They could take off bottle caps!