Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo: what is left from it now?

What’s your association with Sarajevo? Usually when people think of Sarajevo, they think of three events. Firstly, the death of the archduke Franz Ferdinand which originated the World War I. Secondly, the siege of Sarajevo in the nineties. Thirdly, the Winter Olympic Games in 1984. One of the places we wanted to see in the Balkans where abandoned Olympic sport arenas in Sarajevo. Have you ever thought how those places look like now?

XIV Olympic Winter Games

In 1984 Sarajevo hosted XIV Winter Olympics. 1272 athletes from 49 countries participated in the event. They competed in 39 events in 10 different disciplines. Many sport arenas had to be built from scratch, others needed renovation to meet the requirements of the Olympic Committee. The organizers of the Olympics in Bosnia and Herzegovina did their best and finished the construction and renovation of all the venues before the deadline. Olympics took place in Sarajevo although Polish people may not have good memories from the even. Polish team didn’t not win any Olympic medal in Sarajevo.

What is left from Olympic Games in Sarajevo?

Around 2 years ago I found an article about the sport venues from the Olympic Games in Sarajevo. It presented the locations as a perfect place for those who like to visit abandoned places. I learned that some of the arenas are now not used and forgotten. I thought I had to go there one day. We decided to do it during our Balkan trip when we wanted to go to some abandoned locations. In Croatia we went to the hotels in Kupari and in Bosnia and Herzegovina we wanted to see what is left after the Olympics in 1984.

Igman Olympic Jumps

Before the Olympics they constructed two ski jumping hills on the mountain of Igman. One with construction point K112 and another one K90. I 1984 they hosted ski jumping and Nordic combined competitions. 90,000 people watched the competition on the large jumping hill. Nowadays, none of them is used anymore. During the siege of Sarajevo in the nineties that area was a part of the battlefield. The podium where 10 years before the best athletes received their medals, became a place of executions.

After the war, the ski jumping hills were never renovated and the Winter Olympics Games were the only international competition that took place there. Now they don’t meet the requirements of the International Ski Federation to host any ski jumping events. The idea of renovating the place comes up from time to time but the ski jumping hills are still forgotten and damaged. It’s seems that bringing them back to life is not cost-effective

Is the place totally abandoned?

When we went to see the ski jumping hills in August 2018 I was surprised to see that the place is not as abandoned as I thought it was after I had read an article about it two years earlier. I expected the pal e to be empty and it was the complete opposite. On the part of ski jumping hill they opened a children’s playground. There is also a restaurant in a nearby building.

Apart from that in winter there is a ski lift and you can go there to ski. Not mentioning the groups of tourists that come to see the complex as a part of a trip on the sport arenas of the Winter Olympics. The ski jumping hills may never be renovated to host competitions but for sure it’s not a totally abandoned place anymore. They became an interesting tourist attraction and the area around is still used in sport activities.

Bobsleigh and luge track on Trebević mountain

The bobsleigh track is another example of a venue created especially for the Olympic Games in Sarajevo. Back then it was 1261 meters long and if hosted the bobsleigh and luge competitions. After the Olympics, two bobsleigh World Cup competitions were held on the Trebević mountain. Because if its location on the mountain, it was a strategic place during the siege of Sarajevo. It was used as an artillery position of Serb forces.

After the war, people and the surrounding nature damaged the track. In 2014 they decided to renovate 720 meters of the track to use it in summer. The plan came true and now the part of the track is a summer training place for luge.

How does the bobsleigh track look like today?

The situation of the track is similar to the one of the ski jumping hills. Part of it is still used but the rest is almost hidden in the forest. It’s a cool thing to see when you go up the Trebević mountain and you see parts of the track above you. We went there by car and it was great to see it from this perspective. What’s more, a huge part of the track is covered with graffiti and you can walk on it. Have you ever walked on a bobsleigh track? You can literally spend few hours on the one in Sarajevo. I wish we had stayed more to see it all because the parts we managed to see were so interesting.

Yet again the place is not totally abandoned. Many tourists go to the Trebević mountain. Mostly because there is a cable car station on the top and it’s a nice view point. Many people later on go for a walk around and see the old bobsleigh track. It’s also another point for tourists going on the thematic tours of old Olympic venues.

Practical information

– you can reach both the ski jumping hills and the bobsleigh track by car
– many travel agencies from Sarajevo organize trips to the abandoned sport venues. However we recommend you go on your own, if you have the car 
– there is also an abandoned hotel near the ski jumping hills that was used by the athletes during Olympics. We saw it only when we passed by because it rained a lot and we couldn’t even get out of the car. I recommend you see it when you go to see the ski jumping hills. I marked the hotel and other places for you on the map