Now that the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics are well and truly over and the hype has died down I expect that replays will still be played from time-to-time before everyone forgets about it completely and people go back to watching the normal, dull, pale glow of their idiot boxes – me included. It may have exposed people to new sports – like four-man kayak sprints, which you need to watch if you missed it, it was crazy! – and inspired a few people to try some new sports, but my prediction is that the majority of kids that are into sport will go back to doing their sports, and kids that are into sitting around playing computer games will continue to play video games, as it will be extremely difficult to maintain the momentum generated by the games, and the country’s taxpayers on a whole are now £8.92 billion lighter due to the privilege of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics.
One thing that has been in my mind though, since they first announced that the Olympics would be coming to London and the ridiculous amount of money that was to be spent on it (the original estimate was £2.4 billion according the the BBC), was what will happen to all of the buildings and stadiums when the Olympics come to an end? Well, the people of Athens probably asked the same question when they hosted the games in 2004, and it seems that there is an answer, for Athens at least. It is unlikely that the London venues will become as dilapidated as these, due to the stable government and legacy planning, but we will have to wait and see. Currently the London Olympic Stadium plans have been mothballed, leaving it unused until bidding has finished and plans are finalised for the conversion to a multi-purpose stadium, with a new roof, seating and corporate facilities being some of the main changes. It is likely that the stadium will not be handed over to the new tenants for about another four or five, possibly even six years, so what will happen to it in the meantime is anyones guess. Why it wasn’t built in the first place as a multi-purpose stadium with the future uses in mind seems inconceivable, as millions more pounds will now be spent on the stadium. As for the rest of the venues, some, or parts of them were temporary, but the living quarters are now undergoing work to convert them into housing, so it possibly isn’t all bad.
For the past few years the grand Olympic buildings in Athens on the other hand have been slowly, but undoubtably returning into the ground from which they came, completely abandoned. As photographer Jamie McGregor Smith found out as he wandered freely around the vast expanses of concrete and acres of car parks that constituted the Olympic grounds, on the whole unimpeded by security guards or fences.
Greece is famous for it’s impressive ruins left by historic civilisations, and they now have even more degrading structures to add the the impressive list, albeit slightly more modern examples, ones which I expect will disappear long before their ancient equivalents. The following landscapes of the Athens Olympic grounds are beautifully bleak, and I for one would love to have the opportunity to go and explore these expansive, abandoned monoliths… with camera and skates in hand!
You can find out more about the following pictures and see more at Jamie McGregor Smith’s website.