War tore apart the city that hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics — here’s what the abandoned venues look like today

A view of the disused ski jump from the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics on Mount Igman, near Sarajevo, Bosnia.

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A view of the disused ski jump from the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics on Mount Igman, near Sarajevo, Bosnia.
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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

On February 8, the 2018 Winter Olympicswill kick off inPyeongchang, South Korea. The country has devotedover $1 billiontoward building gleaming new stadiums and slopes.

For Olympic host cities, this kind of major investment is not unusual. But after the world’s TV sets tune out, some of these cities do not have the infrastructure for upkeep of the venues. In the case of Sarajevo, Bosnia, some Olympic sites were torn apart by war.

Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics, but a decade later, terrible conflict ravaged much of the city and killed thousands of civilians.

Today, many of the former venues lie in ruin.


On February 8, 1984, athletes from 49 nations flocked to Sarajevo for the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony featured an impressive set-up.


It was the first communist state to hold a winter games.

Source:Reuters


But from 1992 to 1995, amidst the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the majority of Olympic venues were abandoned.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

In the hills above the Bosnian capital, the Bobsleigh and Luge track was used as a Bosnian-Serb artillery stronghold during the Siege of Sarajevo.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Weeds have grown over much of the track …

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

… which is covered in graffiti, too.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

On Mount Igman, 16 miles outside Sarajevo, the city’s ski jumping venue was used as an artillery position.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Bullet holes and cracks riddle the ski jumps.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

A billboard blocks the end of one jump.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

A crumbling medals podium still stands on the venue’s ground level.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Ski jump judges once sat here.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Meanwhile, moss covers the Olympics’ former steps for spectators.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The abandoned speed skating venue is in the center of Sarajevo.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Faded images of Vucko, the official Olympics mascot, are plastered on the site.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The Olympic snowflake logo also survives on a wall of the Koševo stadium.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Many of the Olympic venues remain as a reminder of the Siege of Sarajevo, which resulted in over 13,000 deaths.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Source:The United Nations


However, not all were left to rot. Mount Jahorina, a renovated site of the women’s Alpine skiing events, is now used by tourists and locals alike.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

A 1992 shelling, bombing, and fire destroyed Zetra Hall, where Britain’s ice dancing pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean received a row of perfect 6s for their routine. The venue was rebuilt in 1999 after the International Olympic Committee donated $11.5 million.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

From 2000 to 2006, local officials overhauled the larger Skenderija Hall as well. Today, it attracts around 500,000 visitors each year.

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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Sarajevo residents take pride in the 1984 Olympics. Every year, they celebrate the anniversary of the games at the Koševo stadium.