Once a symbol of hope and regeneration, the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is today little more than a dark and dilapidated shell. Its windows have been smashed. Its seats have been ripped out. Even the copper wires embedded in its walls have been plundered by desperate looters.
Unbelievably, the stadium was once a showpiece venue and the host of prestigious international fixtures, including the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup Final. With a capacity of around 80,000, its galleries once thronged with spectators, but those days appear to be gone.
Moreover, the state of ruin now consuming the stadium – which was completed in 1950 and then refurbished for around $500 million in 2014 – is mirrored in other Olympic venues across the city. In fact, just six months after the 2016 Olympic Games, vast swathes of Brazil’s Olympic Park appear to be closed to the public and threatened by decay.