Thursday, February 03, 2011

Olympic Sarajevo

1984. My first grown-up Olympics was held right here in Sarajevo.

Eight years later all of the carefully-designed and lavishly built venues were in the middle of a war zone.

The Zetra ice rink, where all the figure skating events were held, is near the center of town. It was destroyed during the war. Its wooden plank seating was torn up and used as coffins. After the war, it was determined that the foundation was sound, and a new ice rink was built on top of it.

The bobsled track on Mt. Trebevic is unusable today because of the scars from the artillery set up there by those who laid siege to the city.

During the war, executions took place on Mt. Igman at the site of the ski jump competition. You can still see the bullet holes. The ski resort has reopened, but its equipment hasn't been updated yet.

Mt. Bjelasnica, where the men's alpine skiing events took place, languished for a while after the war because of the threat of mines. But now the ski resort is mine-free and a popular local destination.

Jahorina, where the women's alpine skiing events took place, was outside the siege circle during the war, so it has made the most robust recovery.

The Olympic Museum in town was destroyed during the war. But the 1984 Olympic logo is still a common sight around town.

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