Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. General Sports

U.S. Olympic Team athletes travel to Sochi Olympics as security dangers swirl

See also

Each of the 230 athletes who have been chosen to represent Team USA at the Sochi Olympics has been preparing for this pinnacle sporting event their entire lives. Through years of conditioning, practicing, and competing, they have been trained on fulfilling their Olympic dreams and landing a spot on the coveted podium.

Yet, what they had not been planning for are the rising tensions and anxieties about the extreme dangers at the Sochi Olympics which have ratcheted upwards in recent weeks. The United States has long been a target of terrorists who could once more seize the chance to strike again.

Having just survived the grueling and stressful U.S. Olympic qualifications which ended earlier this week, these world class athletes are now switching gears to ready themselves for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to excel on the world stage.

All of these skaters, skiers, snowboarders, curlers and hockey players, who have just begun traveling to these Winter Games, have already been advised by the protective U.S. Olympic Committee to take prudent precautions.

“There’s no question that it’s heightened everyone’s awareness. We take security very seriously,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun in a NBC Today Show segment. This organization has already arranged for athletes to be escorted by security while at the Sochi Olympics.

This large American contingent has recently been briefed about the actions required in the event of an attack. Directions about evacuating, scurrying to safe zones, and communicating among each other have been instilled in these athletes’ already burdened minds. Despite this advice, intended to be assuring, certain athletes are still anxious.

For instance, the 29-year-old NHL player Zach Parise said in a Star Tribune interview, “I know they say they have evacuation stuff for us and all, but you just never know. I'm actually really concerned about it.”

Parise is among several athletes who have asked their family members not to travel to Sochi - not only for safety reasons, but so that they will not have to worry about their relatives’ well-being on-site.

Still others, particularly the younger, adventurous action sport athletes, are taking these scary conditions all in stride – at least on the surface.

"I try not to worry about anything when I'm skiing. That's kind of part of my personality, attributes that I have that I take into my sport," said freestyle skier Nick Goepper in a Denver Post interview.

This single-minded focus on just competing is a rare talent that few can master – throughout years of preparation or even at the starting line. Often, these matter-of-fact direct statements are ingrained - the product of public speaking coaching lessons led by the sport’s federation.

Yet quite possibly, his myopic viewpoint is bolstered by his USSA federation’s hiring of Global Rescue, a private crisis, rescue, and evacuation company. After all, this federation is responsible for the safety of such world-renowned athletes as Shaun White, Kelly Clark, Bode Miller, and Julia Mancuso.

“This will be one of our larger deployments [for USSA] given the scale and the location,” said Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards in a Fox Business interview. “Our planning with them began months ago.”

For many athletes the Sochi Olympics will be their one and only chance to race to a victory, throw down the best run, or score the championship winning point. Therefore, concentration is paramount, and they must block out all these distractions, worries and even fears about all the controversies that are swirling around them.

Otherwise, it’s a long four-year journey to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Follow me on Twitter for all the latest news on Team USA as it competes in an Olympic Games that will long me remembered.

Advertisement

Sports

  • Stephen A. Smith apologizes
    Stephen A. Smith: Ray Rice rant was 'most egregious error of my career'
    Video
    Domestic Violence
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • New York Yankees fan returns lost Red Sox World Series ring to owner
    MLB News
  • Peyton Manning dancing
    Peyton Manning shows off his formidable dancing skills at training camp
    NFL News
  • Bagwell becoming porn star
    Buff Bagwell has the stuff, but his Vivid dreams have not come true just yet
    Fight Sports
  • Grave defiler identified
    Die-hard Browns fan identified in Art Modell’s grave defiling video
    Crimes & Court