Pre-Olympic gossip is buzzing around news outlets worldwide. Never before have the Olympic games been held in such an “unstable” region. A record-breaking budget of $51 billion is being spent by Mother Russia on the games, including the construction of new roads and the impressive Sochi stadium. And, obviously, a huge chunk of change is also being spent on security.
With rumors of terrorist threats from Muslim insurgents and the nearby Caucasus region, thousands of security personnel are being rallied and employed throughout the area. The US is also doing everything in their power to prepare for the worst, including positioning two Navy ships in the Black Sea who have the capacity to evacuate Americans if need be. As many as 10,000 Americans are expected to attend the Sochi games, which begin today. While no specific terrorist threats have been made to target Americans, travel advisories have warned individuals to expect a heavy security presence and have mentioned the potential for suicide bombers. American Olympians have been advised not to flaunt their team colors and uniforms outside of the stadium.
In addition to the (legitimate) fear mongering, Russia is making enemies left and right. The Sochi Olympics are stirring the pot and fueling the rumor mill. One such report on ESPN brought attention to the water. While it is widely known that you should not drink it, this report on Colin Cowherd, said some people in the media were being advised to not even wash their face with it.
Additionally, snow has been a massive concern. The region is more like Southern California (50s in the “winter” and 70s in the summer) and is rather shy of the normal winter element, causing the government to be prepared to create its own. Sure wish they could take some of ours #polarvortex.
Russia insists that they will provide the utmost security and protection during the Olympic games, primarily in and around the Fisht Olympic Stadium. However, more outlying areas on the fringe of the city are most likely to be high-risk areas due to the lesser security presence there. It is not unusual for threats and worries to precede a massive international event such as this one. But will fear keep the spectators at bay?
Either way we wish everyone safety and success at the games this year and of course GO TEAM USA!!
Contributed by Allison Cohn