Olympics Chief Says Sochi is ‘Safe and Secure’

Thomas Bach said athletes and spectators can feel secure

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The head of the International Olympics Committee says the Winter Games in Sochi will be a “safe and secure” experience for those attending, despite concerns over threats from militants and the Russian government’s hostile attitude toward homosexuality.

“We have full confidence in the host country and we also know that Russia and the Russian services are working closely with different international services to ensure that all the participants and spectators of the Olympic Games can feel safe and secure,” Thomas Bach said Monday, according to the Telegraph.

The games are set to kick off Friday. The Kremlin has invested in a huge security operation, including building a “ring of steel” around the host city of Sochi, to ensure those attending are protected from potential terror attacks.

Bach said athletes competing in the games will not be discriminated against by the Russian authorities because of their sexual orientation, and that although political statements will be prohibited at Olympic sites, those competing will not be prevented from expressing their beliefs news conferences. “The Games cannot be used as a stage for political demonstrations, however good the cause may be,” Bach said, adding that outside the Olympic venue they are “absolutely free” to make any “political statement” they wish to.