Praying For Peace in Sochi

Although I would watch the least significant sport in the Summer Olympics over the most significant sport in the Winter Olympics it doesn’t mean that I won’t watch the Sochi games. Although I have many reasons for liking the summer games over the winter games, what will occur in two days is still a world event that will match athletes across the planet against each other for the chance at Olympic gold. Just because I don’t care for cold, snow, and ice doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what I like more than anything else…high level competition.

Because I deeply value this special level of competition that only the Olympics can provide please excuse me if I say that I am a little concerned about the Sochi games. For the past six months all I have read about are problems that are plaguing the 2014 Winter Olympics. Issues such as corruption, unready facilities, unsafe courses, inequality for some athletes, lack of planning, and stray dogs running all over the place keep getting a lot of play in the media. These obstacles are serious and could tarnish the games. However, if dealt with head on during the next two and a half weeks I believe Sochi can manage to keep them out of the public eye and make a respectable lasting impression. While it will take a lot of work I think Russia can do it.

What scares me the most is terrorism. With many experts forecasting doubt on the safety and current political climate of Sochi, I have my concerns. And not that the average person living in the U.S. has a superior grasp on foreign security measures but for what it is worth a CNN poll recently came out that shows 57% of Americans think a terror attack is likely at this year’s games. I hate to say it and I never like to overreact but I do have an uneasy feeling in my stomach about whether the games will go on peacefully from the time the cauldron is lit to when it is ultimately extinguished.

Although it happened over 14 years before I was born I have that eerie image engrained in my head of that one masked assailant at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich looking down from the balcony as he helped his terrorist group hold the Israeli athletes hostage. Even after September 11 I still associate that image as the face of terrorism. I still get chills just thinking about. To think of something like that repeating itself in 2014 scares me.

Of course foreign Olympic host countries aren’t the only ones vulnerable to an attack. The bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta is a tragic event that I remember very well even though I was only ten. These horrific events can happen anywhere at any time and I think that is what worries me most about Sochi…whereas no one thought an attack would occur in Atlanta many people think an attack will occur in Sochi. See where I am going? If a terrorist plot succeeded in an Olympic city that people thought was untouchable than surely a terrorist plot can succeed in an Olympic city that already has grave concerns about safety.

May the 2014 Winter Olympics be safe and joyous. While analysts and former security big shots around the world can point fingers at Sochi right now, we all really have no idea what type of sophisticated measures and tactics are being planned behind closed doors. Pray for peace! Don’t Blink.

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