Ever since the closing ceremonies concluded the weekend before last, I’ve had an Olympic-shaped hole in my heart. I remember getting really excited about the Olympics as a kid, but these Games were the first that I’ve invested time in watching as an adult, and truth be told, it was a little magical. Everything is so big! And Olympians are so impressive! For the first time, I understand what a simultaneous honor and struggle it is to be an Olympic athlete, to represent your country on a world stage and perform at a consistent level of near-perfection. I would watch the Olympic happenings at Nate’s house with he and his roommates and it was a very communal experience, to sit together and cheer on Gabby Douglas and Misty May-Treanor and Allyson Felix and to all be emotionally invested in their victories together. There was such a latent excitement surrounding the Olympics this year, and it was fun to live in that excitement for a couple weeks.
But what happens when the Olympics are over and the excitement disappears? I came across a series of photos the other day on FlavorWire that attempt to get at that question. The Olympic City, a collaboration between photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit, is a photo collection of the ruins of former Olympic host cities. As it turns out, many of the grand Olympic structures built for the Games have faded into obsolescence, and a few have been repurposed for wildly different uses than they were originally intended for. These photos are really beautiful and haunting, and it makes me wonder whether it’s worth it to pour so much money into such a temporary grandiosity if this is the fate that awaits future Olympic sites. It’s an interesting and tricky question to consider.
See more photos from The Olympic City Project here.