8 years later, Athens Olympic venues in decay

The Olympic beach volleyball lies abandoned in southern Athens, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. The purpose-built stadium has seen minimal use _ mostly for concerts _ since the Athens 2004 Olympics. Eight years after the Athens Games, many of the venues remain abandoned or rarely used, focusing public anger on past governments as the country struggles through a fifth year of recession and a debt crisis that has seen a surge in poverty and unemployment.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The Olympic beach volleyball lies abandoned in southern Athens, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. The purpose-built stadium has seen minimal use _ mostly for concerts _ since the Athens 2004 Olympics. Eight years after the Athens Games, many of the venues remain abandoned or rarely used, focusing public anger on past governments as the country struggles through a fifth year of recession and a debt crisis that has seen a surge in poverty and unemployment. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

(AP) There's still one group that loves the training pool for athletes at the former Olympic village in Athens' northern fringe.

Frogs.

They appear to delight in sitting on debris that floats on the half-filled pool's murky waters.

The athletes village itself has fared somewhat better, turned into housing for workers.

Eight years after the 2004 Athens Games, many of the Olympic venues Greece built at great expense remain abandoned or rarely used. They are the focus of great public anger as the country struggles through a fifth year of recession and nearly three years of a debt crisis that has seen a surge in poverty and unemployment.

At the southern Athens venue for softball — a sport unknown in Greece and already out of the Summer Olympics — the occasional weed is all that remains on the dried-out field.

With no shortage of real beaches in Greece, the purpose-built beach volleyball stadium has seen minimal use in the past eight years, mostly just concerts.

Other Athens venues have fared better. The badminton hall has been converted into a popular theater venue, the former international Olympic broadcast center is a shopping mall and what was the main press center now houses ministry offices.

The old baseball venue has been used for the past two years by a fourth-division local soccer club — although some of the stands could do with a lick of paint.

The hockey venue hosted the Special Olympics last year, but material used in that event still lies abandoned around the rim.

The taekwondo and handball arena is occasionally used for non-sports events.

The main Athens Olympics complex is now mostly open to the public and its sporting venues are used by local teams or to host national championships.

Greek politicians, meanwhile, are still struggling to deal with those years of excess spending, and many economists still question the country's future in the 17-nation common euro currency.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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