The least sexy part of the Olympic process is when the games are over and giant, state-of-the-art stadiums remain standing often in sparsely populated areas with no potential tenant in site. This conundrum was highly publicized after the 2016 Games in Rio, when the Marcana stadium deteriorated into a ghost town stadium shortly after the games.
South Korean officials are determined to avoid a scenario in a the stadium serves as a physical reminder that the money invested into hosting the Games doesn't always produce a return. Their solution? Tear the thing down.
That's apparently the plan—the 35,000-seat Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang will reportedly be demolished after just four uses. The $100 million venue will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics before it's torn down completely, according to the Associated Press.
It's a decisive move, for sure, but it's not unprecedented—the Olympic Stadium in Grenoble, France was torn down after the 1968 Games, as was the host venue for the 1992 Games in Albertville, France.
Some venues have been successfully converted in functional stadiums with tenants, such as Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Stadium, which was turned into Turner Field and now Georgia State Stadium. But the problem in PyeongChang is that the stadium sits in a mountainous county of just 40,000 people. There are no winter sports that could fill a 35,000-seat stadium with any regularity, and the venue just isn't close enough to a city that houses a professional sports team.
Additionally, this Olympic bid was headed by the province of Gangwon, not the federal government, which footed the bill for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 2002 World Cup. So they're largely on their own when it comes to financing, and keeping a stadium tenable requires costly upkeep.
Gangwon officials are unsure of what to do with the other stadiums that have been built for the games, as well. There was even a proposal to turn a speed-skating venue into a warehouse for frozen fish, but that's apparently been ruled out.