10 of Our Favorite Olympic Venues

Here are 10 of the world's most epic and historic displays of architecture designed for the athletes of the Olympiad.

Photo by: Holly Aguirre The 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony was dubbed A Symphony of British Music and featured a tribute to the Beatles and Freddie Mercury along with live performances by Elbow, Madness, Kate Bush, David Arnold, George Michael, Kaiser Chiefs, Annie Lennox, Russell Brand, Fatboy Slim, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, Spice Girls, Beady Eye, Eric Idle, the remaining members of Queen and the Who.

Staged on the archaic plains of Olympia, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced all the way back to 776 B.C. The Games were dedicated to the Olympian gods and continued for nearly 12 centuries until 393 A.D. when Emperor Theodosius stated that all such "pagan cults" be banned.

It was the vision of Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin that created the modern Olympic Games when he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 in Paris. The new committee set its sites on organizing the first Olympic Games of modern times. His dream proved a reality and the first “modern” Games as we know them today took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896. The Games continue to bring the world’s best athletes to an international stage in a spirit of competition and brotherhood.

The Olympics also brings some of the world’s finest architects, designers and engineers to an international stage as well. Most Olympic stadiums, event centers and villages are specifically designed with the Games in mind and then dedicated to the host city.

With the XXII Winter Games of the Olympiad kicking off in Sochi on Feb. 7, we’ve rounded up a few our favorite venues, historic treasures that are monumental displays to the Olympic spirit that lives in us all.

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