In less than a month people across the globe will turn their attention to one of the most popular events on earth–the Winter Olympics. This year’s Olympic Ceremonies begin in less than a month, but preparations for the event began long ago. A global event as large as the Olympics requires years of planning from officials and for many athletes training began as long as decades ago.
As the start of the Winter Games approaches, however, questions have been raised about the safety of this year’s Olympic games, hosted in Sochi, Russia. A spree of attacks from Islamist militants are enough to raise concerns about the safety of athletes and spectators alike.
According to the NBC National News blog, terrorists were arrested just last Saturday in the latest security scare surrounding the Olympics. The blog also reported that Islamist suicide bombers were responsible for at least 34 deaths in a previous attack in Volgograd, Russia, this past December.
The threat of terrorists attacks presents a personal challenge for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has himself claimed that this year’s Olympic Games are a demonstration of his leadership skills. Putin has already faced criticism for Russia’s anti-gay laws and the success or failure of the upcoming games could determine his legacy as president.
“Having aligned himself so closely with the costliest-ever Olympics, Putin’s legacy could be defined by this $50 billion-plus sporting extravaganza,” reads a quote from a recent Seattle Times article. The Seattle Times noted that the last time Russia hosted the Olympics in 1980 the celebration was marked by a boycott led by the United States that included 65 countries. Putin is undoubtably trying to avoid repeating such an incident.
Regardless of the tension currently surrounding Russia, the games are set to continue as planned. CNN provided a list of facts about the upcoming Olympic Games for fans who are curious about what makes this year so extravagant. The Olympics include 6,000 athletes from 85 countries who will compete in 15 different sports. 375 athletes are from the United States and over 3 billion people are expected to watch the televised games.
The games officially begin on February 6. Whether you’re watching for a specific sport, to cheer on a particular country or just for the fun of the games, the 2014 Winter Olympics are certainly an event not to be missed.