9 Awesome Olympic Stadiums

Stadiums. I like 'em.

I toured the Denver Broncos' stadium several weeks ago and it reminded me how great they are. There's something incredibly cool about being in a massive space like that when it's empty, and something even cooler about being free to roam around in it. I'm also kind of a sucker for interesting design and architecture. And history. And, y'know, sports.

I've been lucky enough to tour several stadiums, wander freely through several others, and then there was that chunk of time I could see the London 2012 Olympic Stadium from my bedroom window. And with several of my favorite Olympic stadiums being in the news recently I figured, hey, perfect time to make a list! (Side note: How come there's no comprehensive list of every Olympic stadium? Googling every stadium back to the '40s is freakishly tedious, let me tell you. I limited this list to traditional "Olympic stadiums" only because, if I widened the net to include all venues, I'd still be slogging through search results.)


I was lucky enough to go to Munich with two friends who indulged my desire to visit Olympic Park (which happened to be a great way to cheer up after visiting the Dachau concentration camp, incidentally). I didn't know much about the stadium before we went, but at first glimpse I fell head-over-heels in love. Look at that architecture! Hello, gorgeous! *drools*


Munich was contemplating bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but that motion was just voted down. I'm a little bit depressed. The whole of Munich's Olympic Park is an A+ example of legacy done right, and between 1972's crazy awesome stadium and the crazy awesome design scheme... so much potential for 2022. Alas.

If I could only visit one stadium ever in my life, it would be the Bird's Nest in Beijing. Look at that sucker! It's BEAUTIFUL! Apparently it's not being used much anymore, which is awful because I will be devastated if it falls into total disrepair. But thankfully there's going to be an aerial ski jumping competition there (HELP, I want to go see that so badly!), so fingers crossed this means good things for its future.

This Games may have been put on by the Nazis, but if there's one sort of positive thing that can be said about the Nazis it's that they dressed to impress (so to speak). All Nazi architecture remaining in Berlin is absolutely monstrous and jaw-dropping (and mildly terrifying), and this stadium all but forces you stop and stare. It's very classically Olympic, aside from the modern renovations inside, and you can tell just by looking at it that something important happened there.

It was also just really cool to be in the stadium in which Jesse Owens did his thing... even though at this point my tailbone hurt so badly I could hardly sit down. But that was a story for another post.

Okay, so, this stadium is something of a joke. It wasn't finished until 1988, and it wasn't fully paid for until 2006. Keep in mind, the Montreal Olympics were held in 1976. Its nickname was "The Big O," which people then changed to "The Big Owe" for obvious reasons. Heh. That being said, there's something about it that I like. It's very weird and futuristic, but it gets major points for originality. It's one of those stadiums that really sticks out in my mind.

The Athens stadium makes me sad because it's basically gone to ruin. I guess that's what we get for giving the Olympics to a country that's broke. But like I said before, I'm a sucker for interesting architecture, and this is definitely one of the most unique I've seen. Now, to make it to Greece before the state of its venues rivals that of Sarajevo's...

It looks like a palace. I'm kind of confused, but hell if this isn't one of the more impressive sport venues I've ever seen. Very fitting for the home of the most important sporting event in the world!

This is cool in the same vein as the Barcelona stadium. It feels very impressive, like the Roman emperor should be sitting over there, looking out at a stadium full of tens of thousands of his citizens. But of course, it wouldn't be America in the '80s without some tacky neon colors! Oddly enough, I like that they incorporated the color & design scheme into the stadium itself. It made it their own and inseparable from the event it was built for.

As someone who generally likes things to by symmetrical, I find it strange that I like this stadium. Some of the other venues built for this Olympics were significantly cooler, but it's pretty neat that this one is simple yet very, very different. It's like someone tried to blow it over but only succeeded in shifting everything to one side. Can't wait to see it renovated for reuse in 2020!

Again, I'm not sure where my symmetrical preference went. But again, it's a very regular stadium with just a slight quirk to make it unique. Architects don't have to go all Bird's Nest to create something interesting!

Time to start (er, continue?) scraping together my pennies so I can eventually venture so see all of 'em! Caitlyn over at Olympic Wanderings has been to all but one on this list, plus a ton more. I have the biggest crush on her life.

What do you think of my picks? (Feel free to laugh at the Big Owe. I wouldn't blame you.)

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