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The TOP 10 Things You Need To Know About Sochi, Russia

With a serious risk for terrorism, will the 2014 Winter Games get snowed in?

Cue the national anthems for the eighty-five countries participating in Sochi….

  1. The United States will send the largest delegation (230 strong) of participants from any single country in the history of the Winter Olympics to Sochi, Russia.  Sochi is located on the majestic Black Sea but it is more appropriately outfitted to host a Summer Games with its towering palm trees and humid subtropical climate.  Leave it to Russian President Vladimir Putin to fit a square peg into a round hole.
  2. “Sochi isn’t Paris. It isn’t Tokyo. It isn’t a great place to be,” says Christopher Dworin, founder of the travel site Trekkel.com. These Games are being held within 300 miles of Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region, a center of Islamist extremist activity, where insurgents have threatened attacks on the Games since Sochi was selected as the venue for the 22nd Winter Olympics in 2007.
  3. Concern about potential incidents on the Winter Games, which will run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23, has heightened in the wake of three suicide bombings carried out by a militant Islamist group that killed more than 30 people in the city of Volgograd, roughly 500 miles from Sochi. 
  4. Chechen insurgents and black widows of slain rebel fighters have threatened to target trains, airplanes, and highways during the Games.  There is no shortage of crazies circling this city with a population of nearly 350,000.
  5. The 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team is skating on thin ice.  The National Hockey League deputy commissioner acknowledged that a major security breach could keep NHL players from traveling to Russia.
  6. One wonders who will be sitting in the stands to cheer on Team USA as many athlete’s relatives have decided to sit out Sochi.  “They’re not gonna go. It’s not worth it,” Phoenix Coyote goalie Mike Smith said.
  7. Russian president Vladimir Putin has guaranteed safety, implementing a “Ring of Steel” around Sochi.  Do his assurances make you feel any better?  Me neither.
  8. The cost of building the facilities in Sochi has been reported to be an unprecedented $51 billion. That sounds like a good investment.  The Kremlin can use the bobsled tracks post-Olympics as an aboveground tunnel to remove Western literature like The Help and Chaz Bono’s autobiography from Russia.  
  9. Two hundred and thirty hours of Olympic coverage across 98 events will be shown on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).  That’s a lot of luges, skiing and biathlons to replace Parenthood reruns.  I predict no one will be watching either.

And The #1 Thing You Should Know About NBC’s Coverage of the Games Is….

Will NBCUniversal cover terrorism and LGBT issues?  News anchor Brian Williams is not traveling 5,000 miles on Sochi Air to report that openly gay figure skater Brian Boitano was removed from a Sochi bar for drinking Stolichnaya Premium Vodka.

 

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