When and if Turner Field is torn down after the 2016 baseball season, more than a ballpark will be lost. Before it was Turner Field, before Chipper, Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux and Bobby made it their own, it hosted the 1996 Olympic Games as Centennial Olympic Stadium.
Since the modern games began in 1896, only two former Olympic stadiums have been torn down. Centennial Olympic Stadium would go the way two stadiums in London: White City Stadium, which hosted the 1908 Olympics, and the original Wembley Stadium, which hosted the games in 1948.
While it could be argued that even in its relatively short post-Olympic life, the former Centennial Olympic Stadium has been wildly successful as the home of the Braves since 1997, the conditions and uses of former Olympic facilities across the globe have been varied.
Most stadiums have been repurposed to host smaller crowds, for local soccer and rugby matches, as well as occasional track meets or concerts. Some, like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984, continues to attract 94,000 fans on Saturdays to watch the University of Southern California’s football team.
Others like Beijing National Stadium sit empty, aside from the occasional visitor who pays about $8 to tour “The Bird’s Nest.” Japan, meanwhile, is spending $1 billion to completely renovate the stadium used for the 1964 Games in time to host in 2020.
So what do you think? What is your favorite Olympic Stadium? What are your memories of Centennial Olympic Stadium? Should bid cities think more creatively about what to do with their stadiums after the games are over?
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