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 National

Police arrest gunman after fatal siege at Colorado abortion clinic


Police arrested a gunman who stormed a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs.

in Black Friday, Lifestyle, National

Black Friday crowds thin in subdued start to holiday shopping


America's annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza was short on fireworks this year.

in Sports

The weekend sports schedule


From the Associated Press, here’s a look at some of this weekend’s major sporting events. All times are listed in…

in National

Making headlines this week

Santa Claus participates in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

A look at some of this week's biggest newsmakers and the headlines you may have missed.

in Sports

Cowboys’ Romo ‘done for season’


Dallas Cowboys veteran quarterback Tony Romo will miss the rest of the National Football League season after re-injuring his collarbone for the second time in 10 weeks, according to an ESPN report.