Olympics: Athens venues lie empty as tenth anniversary nears

Athens' Olympic venues lie empty and disused as the tenth anniversary of the Games approaches.

Greece spent over £7bn on the Games, yet the canoeing and aquatics centre are now completely dried up.

"The Games were a lost opportunity, no doubt about it," admits former Athens 2004 spokesman Stratos Safioleas.

The news will come as a warning to both London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro, which has already come under fire from the IOC for its "worst ever" preparations.

The return of the Games to the Olympics' spiritual home was widely hailed as a success at the time, but many Greeks now view the Athens Olympics with anger as a contributing factor to the country's economic crisis.

The Games cost almost twice their projected budget, with organisers not opting to use any temporary, collapsible venues, as other host cities have done.

Like the Athens Olympics, which began 10 years ago on 13 August, the Rio Games have been rebuked by the International Olympic Committee for lagging well behind schedule.

Last year, a House of Lords report also cast doubt on the legacy of the 2012 London Games, warning that the Olympic stadium was not being "used to the full".

The Olympic canoe-kayak centre in Athens

The Athens Olympics came in almost 100% over budget, yet many of the venues now lie disused

The Olympic softball stadium in Athens

The Athens Olympics organisers opted not to build any temporary venues, leaving permanent structures with little use, like the softball stadium

The Olympic canoe-kayak centre in Athens

The canoe-kayak centre at Hellinikon has been left to completely dry up

The Olympic village in Athens

The Olympic village is now covered in graffiti

The Olympic beach volleyball stadium in Athens

The beach volleyball stadium is now overgrown with plants

The Olympic aquatics centre in Athens

The swimming pool where Michael Phelps won six gold medals is now completely empty