What Happened Last Time the Olympics Left Town

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SOCHI 2014 FEBRUARY 23, 2014

What Happened Last Time the Olympics Left Town

The Olympics are finally over. Nothing really went wrong, Russia squeaked into first place in the medals count—a big relief for the hosts after their embarrassing 11th place finish in Vancouver. And now the decay sets in. Heading into these Olympics, the debate was reignited over whether the huge expense of such events is a worthwhile investment for the host countries, and most economists agreed that it is, in general, not the smartest way to spend a nation's money.

Photographer Lily Idov recently visited the venues Russia built the last time the Olympics came through town, in the summer of 1980. Many buildings just outside the city center had to be razed to make room, but other pre-existing athletic facilities were simply refashioned for the event (unlike Sochi, where everything was build from scratch). Here's what it all looks like today, 34 years later.

Photo by Lily Idov
The Luzhniki Small Sports Arena, preparation for a hockey game. It was built as an open-air arena in 1956, and then was covered and updated for the Olympic games. It held competitions in weightlifting, judo, and basketball. Now it is used as an ice rink 10 moths a year, mainly for hockey games, and as a concert venue.
Photo by Lily Idov
Olympic Memorabilia Corner at the Velodrome in Krylatskoe, Moscow.


Photo by Lily Idov
Windows of the Velodrome in Krylatskoe, with modern Moscow reflected in the windows.


Photo by Lily Idov
Velodrome in Krylatskoye. It still functios as a cycling training facility.


Photo by Lily Idov
The Krylatskoye Rowing Canal. The whole canal was constructed specifically to hold rowing competition at the Olympics..


Photo by Lily Idov
The Bitsa Equestrian Center, side view of the show jumping field.


Photo by Lily Idov
Bitsa Equestrian Center, entrance to the stables. 


Photo by Lily Idov
The Olympic Pool, which is part of the Luzhniki Sports Complex. Built in 1956, reconstructed in 1980 for the Olympics. It now functions as a recreational open-air pool, and will close for reconstruction this year.


Photo by Lily Idov
The Olympic Pool, indoor section, now used for children's swimming lessons.


Photo by Lily Idov
Lobby of the Hotel Izmailovo Delta. The whole complex of four high-rise hotels (named from Alfa, Beta, Gamma, Delta) was built in 1979 for the Olympics. Now each building functions as a separate hotel (one of them is a Holiday Inn). Most of their lobbies and conference rooms are now occupied by wholesalers of Turkish leather goods. The complex is also now a hub of organized crime, prostitution, and crooked cops. 
A selection of these photos was first published in the Calvert Journal.

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posted in: culture, photography, russia, olympics, sochi 2014

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PHOTO BY Photo by Lily Idov
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