by AMBER KELLY Photographer
The 22nd Winter Olympics will be taking place in Sochi, Russia from February 6 to February 23 of this year. While preparations are still under way, there has been talk about the security at these winter games due to two recent bombings that occurred in Russia.
In October, a female Islamist suicide bomber blew up a passenger bus, killing six people and wounding even more. Then in December, another female suicide bomber attacked a train station in Volgograd, Russia, killing approximately 16 people and wounding about 34.
As of now, no one has claimed responsibility for these bombings; however, many people have set their sights on Chechnya, a nation on the southernmost tip of Europe with a history of producing Islamist extremists. Many people are worried for the Winter Games coming up in February because the bombings have been so recent.
“Hopefully they have really good security at the Winter Olympics this year. I know security is always pretty tough at the Olympic games, but because of these bombings I think Russia needs to take extra precautions in protecting the arenas and all the nations’ participants. Maybe they’ll be able to find out who the culprit is for these attacks before the games,” says senior Kimberly Cangelosi.
Despite these bombings, President Vladimir Putin of Russia is determined to make sure everything with the Winter games goes smoothly.
Sochi, Russia was chosen as the 2014 site for the 22nd Winter Olympics on July 4, 2007, and it will be the first time ever that the Russian Federation will hold the Winter Olympics, since every other time they were held in Russia, the USSR was in charge.
The original cost estimate for the Winter Games in Sochi was $12 billion, but now that estimate has been raised to $51 billion as of October 2013. If this estimate turns out to be correct, then these Olympics will be the most expensive ever, even more expensive than the Summer Olympics.
There will be two new main venues, including the Sochi Olympic Park and Krasnaya Polyana. The opening and closing ceremonies, ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, and curling will take place in the Sochi Olympic Park, while the biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding, alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, and ski jumping will take place in Krasnaya Polyana.
Some controversy has surrounded these Winter games, including the financing. Politicians Leonid Martynyuk and Boris Nemtsov claim that one of the reasons for the Winter games’ high cost is embezzlement and kickbacks on the part of President Putin. As of now, these claims have not been substantiated.
Eighty-eight nations have at least one athlete participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, with the United States currently leading the pack with 224 athletes. Canada follows close behind with 222 athletes.
“The United States is generally better in the Summer Olympics, but hopefully they do well. We usually have pretty good athletes, so I’m excited to see how many medals we can get. I’ll definitely be watching to see how our athletes do,” says senior Lucia Fernandez.
Starting February 6, millions upon millions of people around the world will have their eyes on Russia, hoping for their country to do their best. We will just have to wait and see how the United States’ athletes hold up against other nations.
Which country do you think will do the best in the 2014 Winter Olympics?