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Inside deserted Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics stadiums destroyed by the war

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VENUES used for the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics have been left in ruin.

Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina hosted the games between February 8 and 19 in 1984.

Sarajevo played host to the 1984 Winter Olympics

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Sarajevo played host to the 1984 Winter OlympicsCredit: Getty
The tournament happened eight years before the Bosnian War

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The tournament happened eight years before the Bosnian WarCredit: Getty
Many of the venues were left in ruin by the conflict

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Many of the venues were left in ruin by the conflict
This Sarajevo ski jump venue is wrecked

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This Sarajevo ski jump venue is wreckedCredit: Reuters

The majority of the venues were built for the games before the games were awarded.

In total, there were nine venues for the games including the Bjelašnica mountain which was used for the Alpine skiing.

The Igman mountain and Jahorina ski resort were also used.

In terms of buildings, there was the Skenderija II Hall for ice hockey which housed 8,500 people.

There was the Trebević Bobsleigh and Luge Track which saw up to 11,500 people visit.

The closing ceremonies, figure skating and ice hockey final took place in the Zetra Ice Hall which had a capacity of 15,000 spectators.

The Winter Games were considered as a success.

In 2019, Bosnian Nedzad Fazlija, 55, a five-time Olympian shooter said: “Sarajevo was a very successful host of the Winter Olympics.

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Nedzad Fazlija considered the Winter Games in Sarajevo a success

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Nedzad Fazlija considered the Winter Games in Sarajevo a successCredit: Getty

“We are one of the few that can boast of being an Olympic city. We are very proud of that, we appreciate it, and we are grateful that we were entrusted. A huge number of volunteers were engaged in preparing everything. Everyone was proud.

“This atmosphere, which ruled for the Games, created something that we call the Olympic spirit, which has remained to this day. We built facilities, but the most important profit is the Olympic spirit. It drives and motivates people to get involved in sport, to train, or just to be fans.

“A lasting benefit is that the spirit is transmitted from generation to generation. Almost every child practised some sport. The Olympic spirit creates new athletes, new recreational players.”

However, just eight years after the event the Bosnian War broke out and ran for three years between 1992 and 1995.

The war was a part of the breakup of the state of Yugoslavia and led to the deaths of around 100,000.

During the conflict, most of the venues from the Winter Games were destroyed and none of them were rebuilt.

On average, the city was shelled 329 times a day including the track which once had the world’s best athletes on it.

Sarajevo’s bobsleigh track became disused and was later spoiled with graffiti.

The bobsleigh track is covered in graffiti

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The bobsleigh track is covered in graffitiCredit: AFP – Getty
Plans to reconstruct the track were scrapped

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Plans to reconstruct the track were scrappedCredit: AFP
One of the ski jumping venues is abandoned

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One of the ski jumping venues is abandonedCredit: AFP – Getty
The bobsled run on Mount Trebević is derelict

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The bobsled run on Mount Trebević is derelictCredit: Getty

The track, used for both bobsleigh and luge was called “safe, quick and technically interesting,” and required “extreme concentration and technical knowledge.”

At the time, it was the fastest and steepest in the world at 1,300 meters and held 30,000 spectators.

When the war broke out the Olympic track became a concrete trench and an artillery stronghold, as holes were drilled in to use in the war.

The conflict continued to use the trench in warfare as it was in a prime location, looking down on the city of Sarajevo from the mountain top.

There have been plans to renovate the track in recent years following an extensive demining operation.

But in 2019 it was cancelled due to the massive cost of fixing the critical infrastructure.

There is still some hope as in 2022 the government of the Sarajevo Canton picked a team to develop a plan for reconstructing the facility as part of Barcelona‘s potential 2030 bid.

The Spanish city has been twinned with Sarajevo since 2000.

The medal podium was used as a place for executions during the war

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The medal podium was used as a place for executions during the warCredit: Getty – Contributor
A hotel was turned into a prison before being abandoned

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A hotel was turned into a prison before being abandonedCredit: Getty – Contributor
The venues are unrecognisable

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The venues are unrecognisableCredit: AFP – Getty

The Olympic accommodation for athletes and a hotel were also left in ruins.

During the war, it became a prison for Bosnian Muslims.

One of the more grizzly scars from the war is a podium from the Winter Olympics that later became a place of execution for the imprisoned.

The ramps for the ski jumping events have also been ruined as a result of the war.

Sarajevo took a lot of damage during the war and reminders of the conflict are all around the former sporting venues.

Fazlija added: “Sarajevo was in the longest siege in the modern history of war.

“The first objects destroyed in Sarajevo were Olympic facilities.

“It was very difficult to live in the city, to cope without water, food, warmth.

“For sport, of course, it was not a good time. But the Olympic spirit of the city gave people the strength to endure another day, another week, another month.

“The people helped each other as they could.

“It drove people to clear the ruins, repair buildings, roads and infrastructure. Sarajevo was progressing every day, and life returned to the city.”

In 2014 the Sarajevo Olympic Museum opened inside the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Hall.

The exhibits showcase artefacts from the games while the Olympic rings can still be seen around the city.

In 2019 the region played host to the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival.

This included eight sports and had 1,200 volunteers and 900 athletes heading to the area.

As a result, the Bjelašnica ski resort was revitalised and will continue to benefit the locals.

The Zetra Olympic Hall has also been the recipient of a reconstruction.

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