Two bombings in Volgograd in two days, add questions to security issues for Sochi 2014, by Larry Eder

The two bombings in recent days in Volgograd, Russia must add questions for all those going to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 


The first bombing was on Sunday, December 29,  in the Volgograd train station and on Monday, December 30, there was a suicide bombing on a Volgograd bus. Per news agencies, a leader of the Chechnyan resistance has asked his associates to shut down the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. President Putin's response has been to say that this will be the safest Winter Olympics ever. Later on Monday, Russian agencies noted that both the Sunday and Monday bombings were both suicide bombings.

Security in major sporting events is no mean feat. That athletic events have become targets is, unfortunately, a fact of modern life. In most major events that this writer has been to, security can be seen as well as felt. This past summer, the VISA process for entering Russia for the World Championships was the toughest of any country that I have entered (over 70) in the past decade. In Moscow this past summer, security was on several levels, and the World Championships went smoothly. The London Olympics from 2012, probably the most successful Summer Olympics since Sydney in 2000, had increased security, which was juggled with giving people a great experience at their visit to the Olympics. 

Will the threat stop people from going to Sochi 2014? My belief is that it already has, however, the recent bombings have not surprised the security groups involved in providing protection for Sochi. Like most recent previous Olympics, security organizations have been on site in Sochi since the day building started on the first site. 

The bombing at the Boston Marathon opened the eyes of the running community, which had endured attempts at disruption in the past. Security at all major marathon events since Boston has dramatically increased. In the end though, individual observation is key in stopping terrorism. If someone sees something unusual around an event, they should be encouraged to inform local authorities. 

Terrorism, from Spain to England to Germany, has been a fact of life for many around the world. In the U.S. , 9/11 opened most Americans' eyes. 

Expect increased security in Sochi, and Russia during the Winter Olympics. This means longer lines, more questions on anything brought into an event site. With heightened security, longer waits, nerves get frayed, so our biggest suggestion is, if you are going to events which are the focal points of terrorist groups, then either stay home, or take a deep breath, and be patient. 

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