Will Sochi Be Safe?

With the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia feel like a bit of an after-thought. Nothing could be further from the truth for organizers of the upcoming Olympics. There have already been two bombings in Russia in the last four months. Although recent threats via e-mail have been dismissed by authorities (according to reports) it is difficult to imagine the public being comfortable with that. The Olympics were already drawing attention for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks regarding homosexuality. Sir Elton John and Sir Ian McKellen have been outspoken in recent letters to Russia’s president. However, in a recent statement he claims gay athletes have nothing to fear.

It seems clear that, regardless of his motives, Putin wants the Sochi Games to be a success. Although he may be able to deflect media attention from his beliefs, it is much more difficult to deflect terrorist threats. There was a bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta without any preceding warnings, so safety of the athletes and the public seems paramount considering the circumstances.

President Obama reportedly had a phone conversation with the Russian president on Tuesday in which he provided American support in securing the Olympics. Whether or not Russia decides to accept America’s help, the Sochi Olympics will be highly scrutinized. The political atmosphere of Russia will also be brought to the forefront under international coverage. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the Olympics. People from all over the world competing to claim the crown of best in the world is intriguing in and of itself. However, this particular Olympics could be overshadowed by the political atmosphere of its host country and many underlying catalysts as the Games approach.

By N.B.

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