abandoned olympic bobsleigh of Sarajevo

1984 – title of George Orwell‘s famous book and the year of the winter Olympics in Sarajevo. While more than 30 years later the novel is more relevant than ever, the memories of the winter Olympics fade.

It was my second time in Sarajevo. In 1997 I have had the rare opportunity to attend my probably most memorable music concert in my life – U2 in Sarajevo.

Several years later I came back to see how the city has developed after the horrible war. Scars were still very noticeable, bullet holes in building facades, large graveyards amidst the city center and a sense of melancholy everywhere. We hired a local guide who brought us to several spots around Sarajevo, where in 1984 the winter Olympics took place and which are increasingly decaying today. One of them was the bobsleigh – a massive construction made of concrete in the middle of the woods covered with graffiti. The morbidity of the spot merged with the early sunset of a cold and cloudless November day. Walking down the approximately 1,300 meters of the bobsleigh, memories came up when I was watching the winter Olympics with my mother, when Vucko appeared and kicked off the live TV broadcast.

But also the pictures of the war seen in news and experienced during my first visit there. I can’t even imagine how people in Sarajevo must think and feel with the experiences made during these darkest months but what I know is that a war is mostly an escalation of claims to power and control. And so this abandoned bobsleigh is not only a landmark for a sport event long time ago but also a symbol that within a couple of years a society can be destroyed by a few persons who aim for more power and control. And we should be aware of that even more today:

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” (George Orwell, 1984)

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