Obama says he believes Sochi games are safe

Obama says he believes Sochi games are safe

SOCHI 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama waves before he speaks at McGavock High School in Nashville, Jan. 30. Photo: Reuters/Larry Dow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Friday that he believes the Russian city of Sochi is safe and that Americans who want to go to the Olympics should go.

Amid questions about whether Russian security is sufficient to head off the threat of militant attacks in Sochi, Obama told CNN in an interview that the Russians understand the stakes involved in playing host to the international event.

Asked what he would tell close friends who wanted to go to the Olympics, Obama said: “I’d tell them that I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”

But Obama said he would always feel better if the event were being held inside the United States “because then we have full control over what happens.”

U.S. officials have expressed concerns about the level of cooperation with Russian security officials. Obama said the United States has a good sense of the security plan Russia has put in place to protect the athletes and spectators.

“The Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them. We’ve looked at their plans,” he said.

Obama said U.S. officials are not discouraging Americans from attending the Winter Games. Those who wish to go should check with the State Department and see what “prudent measures” they should take.

“What I would say is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics,” he said.

“In these large settings like this, there are always some risk involved,” he added.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in Music

TOP 10: Count down this week’s hottest tracks


The top 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending Nov. 28.

in Entertainment

Anne Hathaway expecting first child


The Oscar winner is expecting her first child, according to reports.

in Music

Adele announces tour


Adele, whose latest album "25" has smashed sales records in its first week of release, announced on Thursday she would begin a 15-week concert tour.

in Music

Eagles confirm musical plans


The veteran rockers are pressing ahead with plans for a Broadway musical centered around their iconic song "Hotel California."