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Obama Confident Sochi Winter Olympics Will Be Safe

Published: February 1, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • Neither Obama nor his wife Michelle will be attending the Winter Games in Sochi.
    Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Wikicommons

Americans hoping to go to the Winter Olympics in Sochi should not refrain from doing so out of concern for their safety, U.S. President Barack Obama said.

"If you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics," Obama said in an interview broadcast Friday on CNN.

Obama said he would feel more confident if the Games were being held inside the United States, but added that he thinks the "Russian authorities understand the stakes" and the "potential threats that are out there."

Related: FBI Enlisted to Help Secure Sochi

Asked what advice he would give to close friends who want to go to the Olympics, Obama said he would tell them: "Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings."

Obama also referred to bilateral cooperation on security at the Games, a topic that has come under scrutiny after U.S. officials expressed concern over the threat of terrorism in Sochi following two bomb attacks in Volgograd, about 700 kilometers from Sochi, that killed at least 34 people in December.

"We are coordinating with them," he said. " We've looked at their plans."

Related: VIDEO: Medvedev Takes to CNN to Reassure Sochi Security Fears

Despite his assurances, Obama did not completely rule out the possibility of an attack by "some lone wolves or small cells of folks trying to do some damage."

"In these large settings like this, there are always some risk involved and I don't want to completely discount those," he said.

Neither Obama nor his wife Michelle will be attending the Winter Games, which are set to start on Feb. 7.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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