Four years ago, when the Winter Olympic Games were opening in Vancouver, B.C., the biggest concern was that it had been raining a lot more than it had been snowing.
It would be nice if that were the only thing to worry about with the games opening today in Sochi, Russia.
Much has been written about the troubled nature of these games, from the skyrocketing costs and charges of corruption to the last-minute rush to finish facilities and complaints about the accommodations from some athletes and reporters. Then there’s the whole controversy over Russia’s homophobic policies that triggered calls for a boycott.
As gratifying as it might be to see Russian strongman Vladimir Putin have to wipe egg off his face, that thought is tempered by fear for the safety of Olympic athletes, coaches, family members and visitors.
The terror threats against them, whose goal is disrupting “Putin’s games,” are very real. In December, Islamic suicide bombers killed 34 people in explosions at a train station and on a bus. They have the know-how to build weapons of mass destruction and the zealotry needed to blow themselves up along with as many others as they can.
The latest possible threat comes in a pedestrian container: the ubiquitous tube of toothpaste. U.S. Homeland Security officials warned that terrorists may be trying to use them to smuggle explosives into Russia.
The U.S. government is concerned enough about a possible terrorist attack that it has moved two ships into the Black Sea to be ready to assist in any security operations or evacuate any of the 10,000 Americans expected at the Sochi Games.
We hope the Russians are able to pull off a terror-free event, that the militants realize how badly they would hurt their cause if they were to kill innocent outsiders at the Olympic Games.
Good luck to all the Olympians; we’re especially rooting for Federal Way short track speedskater J.R. Celski. May this be a safe and rewarding Winter Games.