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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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