Cities that host the Olympics spend millions or billions of dollars building stadiums. The Bird's Nest in Beijing is among the most unique, but all of them are impressive. Take a look at venues from the most recent Summer Olympic Games as we gear up for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
An aerial view of the Maracana and Maracanazinho ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The view outside the Olympic Velodrome on Feb. 19, 2012 in London, England. The Velodrome was
one of the main venues of the games, along with the the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and BMX Circuit. An estimated 180,000 viewers a day watched on-site.
An elevated view of the Bird's Nest on June 19, 2009, in Beijing, China. The National Stadium has become a top tourist destination after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Togo each
won medals for the first time.
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The Velodrome of the OAKA Olympic Sports Complex in 2004 in Athens, Greece. Michael Phelps, the American swimmer, won six gold medals and
set a record of eight total medals in a single Games.
An aerial view of the Sydney 2000 Olympics site, dominated by Stadium Australia at Homebush, Sydney, Australia, Mar. 23, 1999. There were 300 events and 10,651 athletes at the 2000 Games. Two new sports were added:
the triathlon and taekwondo.
A view of the Olympic Stadium as performers form the Olympic rings and the number one hundred on July 19, 1996, in Atlanta, Georgia. Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron at the start of the games.
The Olympic rings are set on the pitch during the opening ceremony of the XXVth Summer Olympics July 25, 1992, at Montjuic Stadium. Approximately 12,000 athletes, officials and coaches from 170 countries are participating in the games.
The Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea boycotted the games, along with Cuba, Ethiopia and Nicaragua, but a record 159 nations participated. For the first time,
all three of the equestrian dressage medallists were women.
The opening ceremony at the Los Angeles Coliseum during the lighting of the Olympic Flame, July 28, 1984. At the games,
Carl Lewis won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump -- a record also made by fellow American Jesse Owens at Berlin in 1936.
Lushniki Universal Hall in central Moscow in 1979. The sports arena was built for the 1980 Olympic Games, when
a boycott by the United States dropped the participating nations to 80, which was the lowest since 1956.
Toronto Public Library
The Velodrome in Montreal, Canada in 1976. Twenty-two countries
boycotted the games, organized by Tanzania, because the New Zealand rugby team had toured apartheid South Africa and was also planning on competing in the 1976 games.