Obama: Sochi Olympic games will be safe

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 31, 2014 


The Mzymta River runs through the Rosa Khutor Alpine Ski Resort in Sochi, Russia. The resort will host the alpine skiing, snow boarding and freestyle ski events during the Sochi 2014 Olympic games.

GARY AMBROSE — Los Angeles Times/MCT

President Barack Obama said he believes the upcoming Olympic games in Sochi will be "safe" despite the recent spate of violence in Russia, according to an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper to air Friday.

"There are always some risks in these large international gatherings," Obama said. "But the the Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them. We've looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they're putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there."

Obama, who will not attend the games, said he always feel more comfortable when an event is in the United States because then his administration would have full control over what happens. But he would not discourage anyone from attending.

"If you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics," he said. "And you know, we're not discouraging, in any way, Americans from participating in what is just always an amazing, wonderful event."

But Obama said that it's very important for anybody who's attending the Olympics to get in contact with the State Department and to make sure they understand what precautions they should take.

"That is something that we would advise any time you're involved in a big international event like this," he said.

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