Venues for the modern Olympic games share a common theme. They typically feature unique appearances, high costs, and symbolic meaning. As a result, a legacy is being realized in the host cities years after the Games end.
Sydney's Olympic Park is still a key sporting, entertainment and business venue in Australia's largest city. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority says the venue is expected to have clocked up 10 million visits to the site by the end of 2010.
Sydney's former Olympic venue currently hosts around 5,000 events per year, ranging from small corporate functions to international sporting matches. The main Olympic stadium was downsized after the games so it could continue to host large sports events.
Michael Knight, Chairman of Sydney Olympic Park Auhority, said, "We tried to plan our venues in a way where the post-games use was built in from the beginning. So that we didn't just build a stadium for the games, in fact we built it at 115,000 (capacity) for the games, and pulled it back to around 80,000 afterwards. We didn't build a whole lot of sports halls in isolation, we built them as part of the new show ground that you see behind us here."
Office buildings and residential apartments are being built on the site. The authorities are trying to develop the park into a self-contained suburb over the next two decades. It currently home to around 8,500 workers from over 100 companies, including Samsung and Commonwealth Bank.
By contrast, the Olympic complex in Athens looks derelict and unused, a long way from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge's prediction in 2004.
Jacques Rogge, IOC President, said, "It's going to leave a great legacy to Greece and to Athens for generations to come."
Nearly five years after the Athens Games, some venues have been transformed into malls or ministry buildings; others sit abandoned with locks on their gates. For a country heavily dependent on tourism, Greece has done little to use its Olympic legacy to lure visitors. As some critics say, a huge opportunity has been lost for the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.