Ten years ago, when Europe was successfully pretending it is solvent for the benefit of German exports and Greece was happily masking its budget deficit disaster with Goldman Sachs currency swaps, the Olympic flame was about to light up the Athenian night sky. As BBC reports, the return of the Games to the Olympics' spiritual home was widely hailed as a success at the time. Now, not so much and most Greeks view the Athens Olympics with anger as a contributing factor to the country's economic catastrophe. The Games cost almost twice their projected budget, with organisers not opting to use any temporary, collapsible venues, as other host cities have done.
In total, Greece spent over $10 billion on the Games. "The Games were a lost opportunity, no doubt about it," admits former Athens 2004 spokesman Stratos Safioleas.
Sadly for the broke country, that is an understatement. Here, ten years later, is the wasteland which is all that's left of the 2004 summer Olympics.
We would strongly urge against diving in this particular pool.
The Athens Olympics came in almost 100% over budget, yet many of the venues now lie disused
The Athens Olympics organisers opted not to build any temporary venues, leaving permanent structures with little use, like the softball stadium
The canoe-kayak centre at Hellinikon has been left to completely dry up
The Olympic village is now covered in graffiti
The beach volleyball stadium is now overgrown with plants
The swimming pool where Michael Phelps won six gold medals is now completely empty