Olympic Host Cities: Who gets the Gold?


As self-proclaimed Olympics junkies, when we find ourselves in a city that has hosted the Olympics, we are always quick to find out how we can visit their Olympic Stadium.  With the current Olympics in London taking place, we find ourselves reflecting back on our travels and being inspired yet again by the spirit that the Olympic Games creates. 

When we visit these past host cities, there is still magic in the air.  The legacy of the Olympics lives on in amazing sporting venues, beautiful Olympic parks and the history of the athletes accomplishments at the games. 

Using the Olympics as inspiration, we thought we would rank the four cities’ Olympic venues that we have had to privilege of visiting.

Honourable mention: Munich, Germany

Munich - Olympic Park

A short subway ride from the city centre is a beautiful Olympic Park featuring a lake that now offers row boats for hire for a leisurely activity around the lake.  Host of the 1972 Olympics, the park houses many of the event buildings utilized during the games possessing a jaw dropping 75,000 square meter glass roof, shaped in the form of a tent.  To us, it appeared as a continuous wave in the sky overhead.  Standing at 291.28 metres, the Olympic Tower is a beacon in the park and a constant reminder of the Olympic Games.  We loved the legacy of this beautiful park and sporting facilities that were left for the residents and tourists of Munich to enjoy.  You get the feeling that great things have come out of these games, which experienced tumultuous times in their second week when some of the Israeli Olympic Team were taken hostage and later killed by the Palestinian group, Black September.  Therefore, for the beauty in the architecture of the Olympic buildings, the ­­pristine park and the ability to overcome tragedy and celebrate the true spirit of the Olympics, we give Munich, Germany our “Honourable mention”.

Bronze medal: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona - Olympic Stadium

Who can forget the stunning camera shots taken from the 10 m diving board at the outdoor aquatic centre during the 1992 Olympic Games?  With panoramic views over the city of Barcelona, those images remain ingrained in our memories for one the most picturesque settings for a sporting event.  Built at the top of Monjuic hill, Anella Olimpica or Olympic Ring is a vast park housing the Olympic stadium, swimming pools, and many more sporting facilities.  Although the diving platform has been removed, you can still tour many of the sporting facilities and imagine the atmosphere that would have resonated through the stands as the best in the world competed in the ultimate sporting event.  For the history, stunning landscapes and vistas, we award Barcelona, Spain the “Bronze medal”.

Silver Medal: Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver - Olympic Torch

Now, we have tried to be objective in our decisions in awarding these medals, however, we must admit that there may be some hometown influence coming into this decision.  Perched on the west coast of Canada lies a city surrounded by glorious mountains on one side and the sapphire Pacific Ocean on the other.  Then, place the Olympics games in this stunning location and it is a match made in heaven.  Host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver, Canada showcased the many sides of its city throughout the two week event.  From snow-capped mountains in Whistler and on the North Shore Mountains to the opening ceremonies being held in a covered Olympic Stadium for the first time ever, these were games that captured the pride of a nation.  Not only did these games spawn a growing Canadian pride (as I wrote about here), but they have left a legacy in which Canadians believe more in themselves.  For the everlasting legacy of these games, we award Vancouver, Canada the “Silver medal”. 

Gold: Athens, Greece

Athens - Olympic Stadium

You may think that this medal is awarded for the more recent games in Athens; however, these accolades are for the 1896 Summer Olympics games of the I Olympiad.  Standing at the entrance to Panathinaiko Stadium (the first Olympic Stadium of the modern Olympic Games), where this amazing tradition of sport began, left us speechless.  Viewing this historic stadium, the only one of its kind to be entirely made out of white marble, made us reflect on the incredible atmosphere that must have emanated from the stadium during those first games.  We were awestruck!  To this day, to watch the world come together as one, leaving prejudice, religion, and war behind, and compete in the spirit of the Olympic games, is what we hope for the future of the world.  If we can unite in sport, perhaps we can also unite in peace.  For the significance of being the birthplace of the Olympic Games, we give the “Gold medal” wholeheartedly to Athens, Greece.

Have you visited any other Olympic Host cities and see their Olympic park?  Please share your stories with us below.


Some posts on our site, Travels4Couples, do allow us to make money. However, we do not sacrifice our integrity and only post those articles that match our brand and we feel would interest our readers.

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