Since 1896, the Olympics have been held in have been a whopping 41 different cities and towns around the world. While each host brings something unique and special to the table, we narrowed it down to 5 of the greatest Olympic host cities of the modern era.
5. Los Angeles, USA
One of only four places to host multiple Summer Games, America’s second largest city had the honour in 1984 and way back in 1932. The City of Angels is an ideal Olympic City (despite what you might think about typical LA traffic), with great infrastructure and memorable venues like the renowned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, now home to the USC Trojans. It may not be the most exotic Olympic host city, but you can bet that you’ll get a great event out of it. With LA the official US bid city for 2024, we could see the games return to California within the decade!
4. Sydney, Australia
Hosting the first games of the new millennium was always going to be a big responsibility, but luckily Sydney was up to the task. Even to this day, many pundits point to the 2000 Summer Olympics as the most successful in the more than 100 year history of the modern Games. From the constant shots of the famous Opera House to volleyball at the renowned Bondi Beach, the Games were a constant reminder of everything the Olympics can be. And what better way to wrap things up than with a stirring rendition of Australia’s most famous ballad?
3. London, England
As the only city to host three Olympic Games, London was never not going to be on this list. The fourth ever Games took place here in 1908, lasting for a staggering 6 months and 4 days. The Games then returned to Britain in 1948, a poignant event just a couple years after the devastation of WWII. And of course we all remember the 2012 Summer Olympics, a two week long celebration of sport that delighted fans and athletes the world over. It doesn’t hurt that London is one of the most visitor-friendly cities in the world! As far as we’re concerned, we can’t wait for a 4th Olympics here! Side note: how can you not love any Games that includes bits like this and this in the Opening Ceremony?
2. Lillehammer, Norway
Through and through, this is the quintessential Winter Olympics host city (well…town if we’re being exact). Despite its small population of fewer than 30,000, the 1994 Winter Games are an example of a country with a real passion for the events. For a nation obsessed with Nordic skiing, Lillehammer just made sense on so many levels. It was recently a part of the withdrawn Oslo bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, though hopefully we’ll see the best winter athletes in the world return here for another go soon!
1. Athens, Greece
There was never going to be another city at #1. The modern Games as we know them wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the Ancient Greeks. This was best reflected in Athens being the unanimous choice to host in 1896 – the first iteration of the modern Olympics. It took over a century for the competition to return to its birthplace, with the 2004 Summer Games a celebration of Greece’s Olympic legacy. Plus, you can’t beat shot put at the Stadium at Olympia – with athletes competing amongst the ruins of the civilization that gave us the competition millennia ago.
Enjoying the Olympics? Check out our pre-competition Guide to Rio 2016!
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