Kiss. Kiss. Bang.

That's pretty much the story of Sarajevo, once a flower of Olympic endeavor.

In 1984, the city in the former Yugoslavia, was hailed as the first Communist host of the Winter Olympics -- a glittering prize for the International Olympics Committee, which has long preached the gospel of gamesmanship without political boundaries.

The IOC was, in fact, so keen on bringing smaller countries to the table that the organization agreed to pay the expenses of one male and one female participant from each nation.

sarajevo poster

And, on the world stage, Sarajevo shined.

Earlier this month, British figure skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean went back to Sarajevo -- a place they still consider "hallowed ground" -- and they skated like the wind.

torvill

It was a spellbinding re-enactment of their famed Bolero routine from the Sarajevo Games -- a spine-tingling number that garnered Torvill and Dean twelve perfect scores of 6.0. They earned full marks from every judge for artistic impression -- an honour that has never been seen since.

The pair ended their routine with a kiss. After all, it was Valentine's Day.

sarajevo olympics

"You don't realize how a certain day in your life can impact on the rest of your life," Dean, now 55, told the BBC. "That day changed our lives forever and will always be in our hearts and our memories, not just for that day but for the life it gave us."

Then, of course, came the bang.

Ten years later, Yugoslavia had fallen apart. Sarajevo had become the capital of a newly emerged Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbs — Bosnia's second-largest ethnic group — violently opposed independence.

And Olympic playing fields became killing fields.

Story Continues After Slideshow

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  • Sarajevo

    An Olympic hotel at Mt. Igman near Sarajevo.

  • Sarajevo

    Sarajevo's abandoned bobsled track.

  • Sarajevo

    Sarajevo's alpine skiing slopes at Mt. Bjelasnica.

  • Sarajevo

    The partially rebuilt winners podium of Sarajevo's abandoned ski jumping venue at Mt. Igman.

  • Sarajevo

    The abandoned bobsled track near Sarajevo.

  • Sarajevo

    The abandoned ski jumping venue at Mt. Igman.

  • Sarajevo

    Sarajevo's abandoned ski jumping venue at Mt. Igman.

  • Sarajevo

    Sarajevo's abandoned ski jumping venue at Mt. Igman.

  • Sarejevo

    Sarajevo's alpine skiing slopes at Mt. Bjelasnica.

  • Sarajevo

    The abandoned bobsled track near Sarajevo.

  • Sarajevo

    The abandoned ski jumping venue at Mt. Igman near Sarajevo.

  • Sarajevo: The Poster

  • Sarajevo, April 22, 1992

Somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 people were killed in the city during the Siege of Sarajevo -- the longest siege of a capital city in modern warfare.

Here's what downtown Sarajevo looked like on April 22, 1992.

sarajevo siege

Militants holed up in surrounding mountains, Smithsonian.com reports. Olympic structures became battlements.

Bosnian-Serbs commandeered the bobsled track, turning it into an artillery stronghold. Battles raged over ski jumps.

Once again, images of Sarajevo captivated a global audience.

"We were the first reality show in the modern world," resident Haris Pasovic told NPR in 2012.

"Viewers around the globe could watch live people in Sarajevo being murdered or starved, people killed on the street, people going for miles to collect some water."

And yes, there are still land mines buried in Sarajevo's sylvan surroundings.

Thirty years later, Sarajevo 1984 has lost a final competition with oblivion, edged out by creeping neglect, makeshift tombs, ransacked halls, graffiti-ridden walls and a legion of unquiet ghosts.

Click through the slideshow for more photos

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 1984 Winter Olympics: Sarajevo (Then)

    Winter Olympics Opening ceremonies take place for the XIV Winter Olympics in Sarajevo's Kosevo stadium Feb. 8, 1984 AP

  • 1984 Winter Olympics: Sarajevo (Now)

    The bobsleigh track from the Olympic Winter Games in 1984 on Mount Trebevic above Sarajevo. During the war, the track was abandoned and used by the Serbian Army during the siege of Sarajevo.

  • 1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles, USA: Memorial Stadium (Then)

    The L.A. Coliseum was completed in 1923. It has only one regular major tenant, University of Southern California football. In this shot taken on August 12, work is underway to prepare the stadium for the upcoming football season, including constructing the temporary end zone grandstand.

  • 1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles, USA: Memorial Stadium (2013)

    A general view at the finish line during the 20th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk For Women held at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at Exposition Park on Saturday, May 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

  • 1988 Winter Olympics: Calgary, Canada (Then)

    Horses graze outside Olympic Park in Calgary on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1988 where preparations continue for the February 13 start of the Winter Olympics. Machine-made snow is used on the 90-and 70-meter jumps.

  • 1988 Winter Olympics: Calgary Canada (Now)

  • 1988 Summer Olympics: Seoul, Korea (Then)

    This is an overview taken Sept. 13, 1988 in Seoul showing the Olympic stadium along the Han-Gang River where the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympic games will take place. (AP Photo/Dick Fung)

  • 1988 Summer Olympics: Seoul, Korea (Now)

  • 1992 Winter Olympics: Albertville, France (Then)

    The general view of the medal ceremony for the men's single luge even on Feb. 10, 1992 during the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

  • 1992 Winter Olympics: Albertville, France (2013)

    The Halle olympique and the Olympic flame cauldron of the 1992 Winter Olympics, Albertville, Savoie, France.

  • 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona, Spain (Then)

  • 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona, Spain (2006)

    This fish by Frank Gehry was built as a focal point for the 1992 Olympic Games. It is one of the world's largest sculptures.

  • 1996 Winter Olympics: Lillehammer, Norway (Then)

    Rally spectators leave the final stage, which finished in the 1994 Winter Olympics Ski Jump Stadium, after the Rally of Norway February 11, 2006 in Lillehammer, Norway.

  • 1996 Winter Olympics: Lillehammer, Norway (2006)

  • 1996 Summer Olympics: Atlanta, USA (Then)

    Children play at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia on July 10, 1996.

  • 1996 Summer Olympics: Atlanta, USA (2011)

    The Olympic Rings fountain at Centennial Olympic Park, a legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games is seen on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011 in Atlanta.

  • 1998 Winter Olympics: Nagano, Japan (Then)

    The 1998 Winter Olympic stadium in Nagano, Japan.

  • 1998 Winter Olympics: Nagano, Japan (Now)

    The 1998 Winter Olympic stadium in Nagano, Japan now serves as a training facility for baseball players.

  • 2000 Summer Olympics: Sydney, Australia (Then)

    Australian sporting icon Cathy Freeman appears with the Olympic torch after lighting the Olympic cauldron Sep. 15, 2000 in Sydney to ignite the 27th Olympiad of the modern era, and the first of the new millennium.

  • 2000 Summer Olympics: Sydney, Australia (2010)

    Water cascades down after the re-lighting of the Olympic Cauldron (R) with the former Olympic Stadium (L), at the Sydney Olympic Park on September 15, 2010.

  • 2002 Winter Games: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Then)

    The spectator seating and jumps for the ski jumping competitions at the Utah Olympic Park during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

  • 2002 Winter Games: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Now)

    Park of the park now serves as the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center for athletes and visitors.

  • 2004 Summer Olympics: Athens, Greece (Then)

    The Olympic Park (left) and the Olympic Sports Complex (right) reach completion on June, 28 2004.

  • 2004 Summer Olympics: Athens, Greece (2012)

    Cars occupy a small proportion of a giant car park in the 2004 Olympic Games Complex on February 18, 2012 in Athens, Greece. In 2004 the Olympics returned to Greece, the birthplace of the ancient and modern Olympic Games, however the legacy of the Games has been called into question with many facilities falling into disrepair less than 8 years after they were held.

  • 2006 Winter Olympics: Turin, Italy (Then)

    A view of the Olympic village that was unveiled in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006. The village includes some 52 thousand square meters of residences which develop along with 750 apartments and 40 thousand square meters dedicated to the village services. The Village will host over 2,500 people, among athletes and technicians. A logistic centre, medical services, shops, restaurants, gyms and reception areas for athletes and their staff will be provided here, as well as a large parking area.

  • 2006 Winter Olympics: Turin, Italy (Now)

  • 2008 Summer Olympics: Beijing, China's Water Cube (Then)

    Melissa Stockwell, right, of the United States, chats with coach Jimi Flowers during a U.S. team training session for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, at the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, in Beijing Friday Sept. 5, 2008.

  • 2008 Summer Olympics: Beijing, China's Water Cube (2010)

    A man works on a water slide at a water park which is still under construction inside China's National Aquatic Center, also known as the "Water Cube" in Beijing, China, Wednesday, July 28, 2010. The park officially opened on Aug. 8 2010.