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Obama addresses safety concerns at the 2014 Sochi Olympics

January 31, 2014|By David Wharton
  • U.S. President Obama returns to the White House on Jan. 3.
U.S. President Obama returns to the White House on Jan. 3. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty…)

A week before the opening ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, President Obama said that Russian authorities know what's at stake in keeping the Games safe.

"We've looked at their plans," Obama told CNN on Friday. "I think we have a good sense of the security that they are putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there."

First Lady Michelle Obama, who attended the 2012 London Olympics, will not go to Russia. Neither will the president's children.

While Obama did not discourage Americans from attending the 17-day sporting event, he acknowledged that with any large gathering comes the potential for terrorist acts.

"I don't want to completely discount those," he said. "But as we've seen here in the United States, at the Boston Marathon, there were some risks if you have lone wolves or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage."

Sochi is considered vulnerable because of its relative proximity to the North Caucasus, where Islamist militants have waged an insurgency. There have been terrorist threats against the Games and recent bombings killed more than 30 people in Volgograd, about 400 miles away.

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