International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has repeated assurances over security ahead of an Olympic Games he claimed will be a “milestone” for winter sport.
Speaking this week, Bach claimed the Games in Sochi are “unique in many ways.” but not in terms of security, because every major event - sporting or otherwise - is now under threat of terrorist attack.
He reiterated his “full confidence” in Russian authorities who are “cooperating with other bodies to ensure safe and secure Games, and claimed extra security measures as necessary because the “alternative is surrendering to terrorists which is the last thing we want to do”.
But, after drawing a comparison with the Salt Lake City 2002 Games which took place in a similar climate following the September 11 attacks in the United States, Bach remains confident a heavy security presence will not detract from the Olympic spectacle.
“In all the Olympic venues in Salt Lake City you could enjoy a very good atmosphere and I think this will really flourish again in Sochi”, he said.
Following the dual bomb attacks on consecutive days in Volgograd in December, security has become the most pressing issue dogging the build-up in recent weeks - with several countries including Australia introducing restrictions on the movement of athletes throughout the Games to combat these fears.
Bach also provided reassurances about several other concerns ahead of the Games getting under way tomorrow (Friday).
This included repetition of the IOC’s stance that they stand against discrimination for any reason - including on the grounds of gender, race and sexuality - and that they have received promises from the Russian Government this principle will be upheld throughout the Games.