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Some of the world's most spectacularly expensive stadiums have been created for the Games

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Vladimir Putin’s government has clear aims to use the $50-billion Sochi Games to transform the Russian city with new sports and recreation venues, and this, the Fisht Olympic Stadium, is the showpiece.

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The design of Sochi’s main stadium has been amended on the fly. In the final version, the stadium has a solid roof, surfaced with translucent ETFE plastic, which holds an array of theatrical rigging. According to the architects, the roof and rigging alone contain more than 8,000 tonnes of steel (almost as much as the entire London 2012 stadium). Fourteen separate “trucks” can each support more than 30 tonnes of equipment and people.

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In a rare example of restraint, London’s Olympic Stadium was built for the 2012 Games with just 25,000 permanent seats. These were set into a concrete bowl in the ground, and augmented during the Games by a temporary steel structure that added another 55,000 seats.

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Beijing’s main Olympic stadium, dubbed the Bird’s Nest, was commissioned as an icon for 21st-century China. The $423-million (U.S.) building sits largely unused now.

Andy Wong/The Associated Press

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Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, host venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics, cost more than $700-million to construct. Repairs, updates and roof additions pushed the price tag to more than $1-billion.

Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press

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Olympic Stadium in Athens stadium was designed in 1979 and built a few years later. It staged such events as track’s European championships before undergoing an extensive renovation to prepare it for the 2004 Olympics.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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