Top 5 Strangest Winter Olympics Venues
I don’t know about you, but I have been SO into the Olympics this year! I’ve made up for being a total absentee from Athens 2004 and Torino 2006 with being a rabid devotee for the past two games, watching every night.
Interesting and innovative venues are often chosen for the Winter Olympics. Take Salt Lake City. Before 2002, this city was known for being dry, Mormon-centric, and completely opposed to nightlife. After the very successful 2002 Winter Games, Salt Lake City became known as a hip and happening city with as many A-list hotspots as there are snow-covered mountains.
That being said, some locations for the Winter Olympics are really unusual. Here are the top 5 strangest Winter Olympics venues:
5) Albertville, 1992
The French Alps are no strangers to the Games — Chamonix hosted the very first Winter Olympics in 1924 and Grenoble hosted in 1968. But both Chamonix and Grenoble are strong destinations in their own right. Albertville, though popular with the French, was never strong with international visitors to begin with. That didn’t change following the 1992 Olympics.
4) Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 1940
These Games were canceled due to World War II. If they had gone on, the Nazi flag would have been raised along with the Olympic flag. Scary, huh?
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a town in Bavaria in the German Alps, not far from the Swiss border. Though it’s popular with Germans and residents of neighboring European countries, it doesn’t have the international presence of other resorts in the Alps. However, that may change — Garmisch-Partenkirchen is launching a joint bid for the 2018 Olympics with Munich and Schonau am Konigsee.
3) Lake Placid, New York, USA, 1932 and 1980
The 1980 Olympics were notable in themselves for the Miracle on Ice and other memorable moments. The city also hosted in 1932. Anyone from the Adirondacks will tell you that the skiing is great — but if you want good skiing in the Northeast United States, you go to Vermont, not Lake Placid. And its location is so far out of the way! The closest major airport is in Montreal. Yikes.
2) The South American Venues That Could Be
(Let’s hope this isn’t a cop-out. I couldn’t find five past venues that were truly random!)
The Summer Olympics are coming to South America for the first time in 2016. But hosting the Winter Olympics in South America would be TRULY random! Of course, the timing would have to be altered, due to the opposite climates. But we could see a credible bid for Santiago, Chile, or Bariloche, Argentina. Let’s hope it happens in our lifetimes!
1) Sochi, 2014
The location of the 2014 Winter Olympics is perplexing. It’s better known for being a summer beach town on the Black Sea than a winter ski resort. And it’s little-known outside Russia. But the fiercely competitive country wouldn’t suggest anything that was less than perfection. We’ll have to see how this one goes!