Beijing’s eerie abandoned Olympic venues

CNN  — 

It’s 10 years since China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. A decade later many of the celebrated Beijing venues and structures used for the competition are abandoned.

Many were purpose-built for the Games – infamously, residents were rehoused and buildings were bulldozed to make room for the structures.

Photographer Greg Baker captured the eerie relics in a series of recent photographs. In his images, weeds grow wild inside the Beach Volleyball stadium, the white water rapid track is filled with junk and nature has reclaimed the BMX track – with people even planting vegetables at the former finish line.

Elsewhere, the Fuwa – the bright-colored, fun mascots of the 2008 games – lie abandoned behind a never-completed shopping mall.

New era?

Fans stored under the grandstand of the beach volleyball stadium are no longer in use.

Beijing will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022 – making the city the first in Olympic history to host the summer and winter events. The city has recently launched a competition inviting people to design the mascots for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic competitions.

It is also understood that some of the venues used in the 2008 Olympic Games will be repurposed for the 2022 event.

Grass growing wild in the Beach Volleyball stadium.

Not all the structures are abandoned – the Bird’s Nest stadium is still a tourist magnet and is going to be used for the Opening and Closing ceremonies in 2022.

The Beijing National Aquatics Center – the so-called Water Cube – will also be revitalized and will become the “Ice Cube” instead.

Time will tell whether other venues see a new lease of life. In the meantime, they are an eerie reminder of a sporting summer gone by.