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Tragic Time Capsules: Capturing the Decay of Forgotten Olympic Venues
Photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit are taking a close look at what the Olympic Games leave behind. Cities spend billions getting themselves all dolled up for the big dance, but what happens to all those old prom dresses? Some of the grand structures built for the Olympics have had second lives as malls, churches, even prisons; others have fallen into desuetude.
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The sixteen years since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta have allowed most of the infrastructure built for the games to be absorbed into the city. Even without generating the economic miracle some had hoped for, the Olympics created an opportunity and reason to patch some holes in the urban fabric.
Athletes’ housing has been converted into apartments or dorms, universities got athletic facilities they otherwise might have had to wait much longer for, and Centennial Olympic Park is now part of a growing neighborhood of attractions that draw a mix of locals and tourists. Atlanta mostly escaped the fate of being left with an inventory of outsize decorative leftovers, but it certainly took time.
Imagineering Atlanta, published in the mid-90s, is hard to find but also worth a read if you’re curious about the who and how of the Olympics in Atlanta.