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Controversy brews as Sochi games draw near

While some are excited for this year’s Winter Olympics, many are concerned about the games’ controversies and safety concerns. The 2014 Winter Olympics are being held in the Russian city of Sochi, which is located on the coast of the Black Sea.
The Sochi Games are expected to have thousands of visitors and hundreds of athletes from various countries for Russia’s first Winter Olympic Games. However, ever since the city of Sochi won the bid in 2007, there has been a great debate whether Sochi was the right choice.
Firstly, there are several powerful world leaders that are not attending the Sochi Games. Recently, the White House announced that President Barrack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will not represent the United States delegation at the games. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will take the president’s place in leading the United States delegation.
French President Francois Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck and European Union Commissioner Viviane Reding have also stated that they will not be attending the games. There is speculation that these political figures are not attending due to Russia’s restriction on LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) rights and other human rights violations.
Another controversy surrounding the Sochi Games is its cost. In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that his country would spend $12 billion on the 17-day event. According Bloomberg Businessweek, Putin spent around $51 billion, making the 2014 Winter Olympics the most expensive games in its history.
Many have criticized Putin for his spending spree, calling it a personal project full of corruption and not a project for Russia.
Lastly, the Sochi Games are creating significant safety concerns. Vladimir Putin has promised that the 22nd Winter Olympic Games will be “one of the safest games.” Putin has arranged up to 60,000 police officers, troops and special forces to Sochi. That number doubles the number London enlisted in for the 2012 Summer Games. However, terrorism has hurt Putin’s promise.
Toward the end of 2013, the city of Volgograd had been struck by suicide bombings. Volgograd is about 400 miles away north of Sochi. After the attacks, an Islamist militant group posted a video threatening several attacks on the Games. Recently, Russian officials are on the lookout for “black widow” terrorist suspects.
These female suspects are believed to be targeting the final stages of the Olympic torch relay with suicide bomb attacks.
Tourists and athletes, along with their families, are becoming more concerned with the possibility of terrorism at the Sochi Games. Some families of athletes have decided not to attend the Games.
According to CNBC’s website, Tim Oshie, whose son, T. J., is on the United States hockey team, stated, “It’s getting to the point where our lives are on the line if we go there. They’re talking about terrorizing families. I’d rather stay in the homeland.”

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Controversy brews as Sochi games draw near