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Revisiting Olympic Villages: Where the Olympians Get Down ’n Dirty

Once again, the time has come when we’re all wishing that we too had the requisite skills to attend the biennial sweat-inducing athletic event of colossal proportions, or, what we common folk know as the Olympics.

Kristin Crosier

Writer

44 articles, 3 comments

Outside Stanley Park on opening day of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Courtesy of adrian8_8

Once again, the time has come when we’re all wishing that we too had the requisite skills to attend the biennial sweat-inducing athletic event of colossal proportions, or, what we common folk know as the Olympics.

We may not be able to transfer magical athletic powers to you, but we can suggest a way to relive the grandeur of past Olympics. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in one of these supposed hubs of drugs and lust? Here Movoto Real Estate gives you a rundown of these former glory towns and how they’re faring in their afterlives.

2012 London Summer Olympics

The 2012 Olympic Village in East London, built for a cool $1.5 billion. Courtesy of LOCOG Press Office

For the 2012 London Olympics, competitors boarding at the $1.5 billion Village will enjoy an entertainment lounge, cutting-edge communications facilities, and large parks. Despite its hefty price tag, however, London’s Olympic Village contains sleeping quarters more fit for college students than the world’s greatest athletes (which will be beefed up with kitchens, new flooring, and other amenities for post-Game residents).

Cool Amenities

  • 24-hour cafeteria to satisfy a case of the late-night munchies
  • 13,000-square-foot gym, for those athletes whose bodies aren’t yet whipped into shape
  • access to pool tables, a computer gaming area, and a private theater

Drawbacks

  • only some of the apartments have adjoining bathrooms, and the kitchens are so efficient, they’re nonexistent
  • your typical dorm-style accoutrements: twin-size beds, basic Ikea-esque furniture, and thin walls
  • bar is non-alcoholic, so athletes must find other ways to take the edge off (read: copulation)

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

The Vancouver Olympic Village, near the city’s center, has since been remodeled into sustainable housing for well-off Vancouverites. Courtesy of Payton Chung

Once the temporary home to nearly 3,000 athletes, Vancouver’s Olympic Village consists of 22 sleek, modern structures built on a stretch of land that was formerly an industrial eyesore. Now known as The Village on False Creek, the condos and apartments attract individuals interested in living sustainably—and who are willing to cough up $300,000 or more for one of these cribs.

Cool Amenities

  • eco-friendliness at its finest with a site that collects rainwater for reuse, solar energy and heating, and natural flooring
  • a mix of quirky galleries and healthful dining spots for the hipster in you
  • waterfront views and a brief trek from downtown

Drawbacks

  • originally funded by taxpayers after the government had to bail out the private developers, so don’t be surprised if sharing the name of your new pad emits angry glares from Canadians
  • located blocks from one of the country’s most prized possessions: the Eastside neighborhood, home to drug addicts, homeless people, and North America’s first supervised heroin-injection location

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

In 2008, Beijing’s Olympic Village offered numerous state-of-the-art amenities (read: endless distractions for athletes). Courtesy of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Official Website

Beijing’s Olympic Village boasted first-rate athletic facilities for extreme competitors, while tree huggers enjoyed gardens on their roofs and toilets that used greywater (don’t worry, this isn’t the same as sewage water). The site has since been converted to upscale apartments that cost around $750,000 apiece—a substantial price tag compared to other nearby residences.

Cool Amenities

  • buildings include solar heating, a water-recycling system, and solar and green roofs
  • during the Olympics, rooms were equipped with an infrared burglar-proof warning device and the potential to draw attention to nighttime hanky-panky

Drawbacks

  • located 20 minutes away from some of the most dazzling 2008 Olympic venues (visits to which are necessary to fully relive the glory of the Games)

2006 Turin Winter Olympics

The vivid colors of the 2006 Winter Olympics Village in Turin, Italy will rouse your favorite childhood memories of LEGO bricks. Courtesy of Marco Scala

Connected to other parts of the city by an arched bridgeway, the Olympic Village in Turin is a brightly colored masterpiece made up of different-sized buildings (that look like LEGO bricks) in anticipation of their various post-Games uses. One of the more successful Athlete Villages, the buildings now provide environmental friendly public and student housing for those green at heart.

Cool Amenities

  • the restored building of the 1934 Mercati Generali, or general markets (history buffs rejoice)
  • pretend you’re a former Olympian when you visit the museum for the 2006 Games

Drawbacks

  • skiers and snowboarders will be bummed to learn that the Village is located far from the country’s top slopes
  • the location’s ancestors were poor immigrants and industrial workers—a somewhat unfortunate detail for any picky homebuyers who might be concerned with regional history

2004 Athens Summer Olympics

The Olympic Village in Athens, one of the grand sites erected for 2004, before it devolved into a graffitied state of disrepair. Courtesy of Takis Gavrilis & Partners

For the 2004 Summer Games Village, Athens created a development for 10,000 of the top sporting contenders that is now overrun with weeds and absent of the sounds of a lively community. The locale is perfect for those who aren’t picky about having a finished yard (or an attractive exterior, for that matter)—and the one-time home for world-renowned athletes comes at a steal of a price!

Cool Amenities

  • top sporting facilities (if you don’t mind them being in disrepair) including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a jogging track, and tennis courts

Drawbacks

  • a single small corner shop means that you’ll likely have to fight for your groceries
  • the area is known by many as a sort of ghetto
  • don’t expect to send your kids to school—promised community services such as schools and daycare centers remain nonexistent

2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

Athletes who attended the Salt Lake City Olympic Games revisited their college years (or experienced it for the first time) while at Heritage Commons, the Athlete’s Village built on the University of Utah campus. Courtesy of Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company

The Olympic Village in Salt Lake City—consisting of newly built and existing buildings at the University of Utah campus—encouraged competitors to live up the many mischiefs of the college lifestyle. Today, virtually the only way you’ll get to experience living in this former Olympian town is if you become a Utes student.

Cool Amenities

  • choice of suites, apartments, and single rooms
  • access to the university’s free campus shuttle system means more cash in your pocket (no insurance or gas fees to empty your wallet)
  • first-class winter sports facilities for those die-hard skiers, skaters, and ice hockey players

Drawbacks

  • required to comply with dorm living restrictions, meaning you can be stripped of your sweet living accommodations if you act with abandon
  • you’ll have to pay tuition, residence fees, and other student dues in order to move into your new digs
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posted on: July 24, 2012
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