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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.





 


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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.