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Scarred by war and neglect, Sarajevo Olympic venues crumble into oblivion

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

A medal podium at the site of the ski jump from the 1984 Winter Olympics on Mount Igman, near Saravejo, Bosnia, on Sept. 19, 2013. Most of the venues from the 1984 Games have been abandoned and left to crumble into oblivion.

AP, file

The opening ceremony of the XIV Winter Olympics was held in Sarajevo's Kosevo stadium on Feb. 8, 1984.

Santiago Lyon / AP, file

A Bosnian fighter advances through the forest above Sarajevo on May 8, 1992 near the site of the Olympic bobsled run. Fighting raged between Yugoslav Federal Army troops and Bosnians on the slopes above the city.

Abandoned and left to crumble into oblivion, most of the 1984 Winter Olympic venues in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo have been reduced to rubble by neglect as much as the 1992-95 conflict that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

They were state-of-the-art facilities nearly three decades ago, when Sarajevo made the former Yugoslavia the first communist country to host the Winter Games.

The bobsleigh and luge track became a Bosnian-Serb artillery stronghold during the war and is nowadays a target of frequent vandalism, still bearing the scars of war epitomized by defensive holes drilled by the troops. 

Many areas of Mount Bjelasnica, where Bill Johnson became the first American man to win an Olympic skiing gold after a spectacular downhill run, were sites of extensive combat during the fighting and some still pose a mine risk. 

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

The disused bobsleigh track on Mount Trebevic.

AP, file

Action from the 1984 Games: (from left) Great Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean kiss during their gold medal-winning 'Bolero' routine; Wolfgang Hoppe and Dietmar Schauerhammer of East Germany give the victory salute as they take gold in the two-man bobsled competition; Debbie Armstrong of the USA sits on the shoulders of her teammates after taking gold in the ladies giant slalom.

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

A section of the disused bobsleigh track.

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

The two ski jumping hills have not been used since they became battlegrounds during the war, although there are plans to reconstruct the in-runs, expand the large one and build new spectator stands and visitor facilities.


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