The remnants of Athens’ 2004 Olympic Park resembles more of a war zone than an elite sporting mecca – so why on earth would the Games ever go back to Greece?
Despite leaving the country in financial ruin, Australian man Tom Vlahos argues that not only should the games go back to Athens, they should never leave.
The Games made a symbolic return to its birthplace in 2004 – but today its legacy is far from what organisers had hoped for when more than $16 billion was invested.
Fast forward 15 years, and dramatic images show just how ill-prepared Greece really was.
Facilities, which were miraculously completed with just hours to spare in 2004, were almost immediately forgotten after the closing ceremony.
Uηlike Sydney, which had planned for life after the Olympics, there were no future events for Greece’s swimming pools and stadiums.
It wasn’t just the eyesores that were left behind either.
Local residents were left to foot huge chunks of the bill at an estimated $80,000 per household – something many consider to be a major contributor in Greece’s ongoing financial crisis.
They’re scenes that are eerily similar to Beijing, where many stadiums and Olympic decorations were left abandoned and derelict year after year.
Promises of urban renewal and re-purposing appear broken or at the very least, forgotten.
So no other country ever has to endure the burden that comes with them, Vlahos argues.
“The Olympic Games have become a financial burden on countries trying to project their image,” he writes.
“It is proven that this money is better spent on real issues affecting these countries.
Should the Olympics be welcomed back to Athens?
“Ideal solution is to hold the Olympic Games every four years in Greece permanently; using and upgrading the same facilities.”
He said all Olympic nations would be given their own land to establish athletes villages and that they can train in Greece all year round.
“This ongoing sporting facility will eliminate billions of dollars wasted every four years,” he argues.
“Every four years, nations can vie for the right to stage the opening ceremony in Greece.
“Allow common sense to prevail.”
His petition has so far received 70 signatures.
The ‘Olympics’ curse
Like the games themselves, the issue of what to do with the new sporting facilities comes around every four years.
It’s only been three years and already venues from Rio 2016 are falling apart as well.
Pyeongchang is determined to avoid such a fate, vowing to simply demolish their Olympic stadium when the games are over.