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Beijing (Summer 2008)

Boom or Bust? Boom

Although the Beijing Olympics were the most expensive Games on record, costing about $40 billion, they did not leave the country in debt. China had enough capital to pay for the new stadiums, subways and roads to make the Games a success. Beijing benefited the most from these improvements to its infrastructure. New highways, subways and an airport terminal as well as public spaces and parks brought much-needed investment to the city without leaving it in a financial mess.

Most of the Olympic venues in Beijing went on to have long-term use. For example, one facility was dedicated to the China Agricultural University and another to the Beijing Science and Technology University, ensuring their continued benefit to the city. However, the landmark Bird’s Nest national stadium (pictured here), remains largely empty from little use.

Photo: Feng Li | Getty Images