Twas the week before Sochi, when all through the house,
Not a person was relaxed, neither child nor spouse
At one time, making plans to attend the Sochi Olympics was ever-ballooning – traveling to a different country, learning a new language, choosing sightseeing spots, and selecting events to cheer on Team USA athletes all the way to the top of the podium.
Yet, in just a matter of weeks, this excitement has deflated. For with each passing day, another story about hidden dangers is published: bus bombings, black widows lurking, sarin gas threats, …
Like clockwork, a prominent U.S. security staffer on Thursday warned about yet another public safety peril at these 2014 Winter Olympics. "The greater threat is to the softer targets in the greater Sochi area, and in the outskirts, beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack,” the director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen said.
Previous hopes of basking in the spirit on this worldwide Olympic Games stage, have now morphed into worries about surviving in this continually escalating danger zone. Further, visions of taking in the panoramic expanse of the sports venues and the majestic mountain backdrop, have now been flipped to fears about watching over your shoulder at all times.
Instead of planning what events and sights to see, American fans are now researching the best evacuation insurance policies, as prompted by a recent U.S. Department of State travel alert.
Warm welcomes issued via dubious Russian government press releases have been trumped by Islamic terrorist threats of “presents” for all attendees, as a recent video states, “We’ll have a surprise package for you [Russian officials]. And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise.”
And any amount of Russian pledges about 100,000 security staff protecting all of the Sochi Olympics, as bordered by a “ring of steel,” are the least bit comforting – especially as the U.S. Government takes further strides to protect the expected 10,000 visiting Americans from harm and injury. On Friday, it was reported that two Navy warships are en-route to the Black Sea, as aircraft are readied at military bases in Turkey.
Hundreds of American families destined for Sochi have been forced to grapple not only with their innermost fears, but the outward and at times, awkward, sharing of these. Heated conversations, atypical for any vacation planning, are now raging through these households. And instead of pulling out travel guides, travelers are now dusting off their wills.
But the vast majority of these Americans are still eager to attend, as reassured by President Obama yesterday.
For to give in to terrorists, is to throw in their towels. Instead, they would rather wave their flags, albeit somewhat subdued.