EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 10, 2014

Editorial: A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts of editorials in other newspapers across New England:

If you were Leanne Smith’s family in North Conway, would you travel to Sochi, Russia, to watch her compete for the U.S. Olympic alpine ski team? What if you were a friend of Olympic ski jumper Nick Alexander of Lebanon?

Numerous Olympic athletes with New Hampshire ties headed to Russia to compete. But the excitement that accompanies this year’s winter games -- for athletes, families and viewers alike -- has been tempered by a real fear of terrorist attacks. So far, no athletes have pulled out. But many families are weighing whether the trip is truly worth the risk. It’s easy to understand why -- and nearly impossible to put ourselves in their shoes.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was compelled to defend the choice of Sochi as host of the Winter Olympics and expressed confidence that they would be “safe and secure.” He told reporters he was “sleeping very well” in the run-up to the games.

Hard to imagine, actually. Recently, the Olympic teams from the United States and some countries in Europe received emails warning of attacks if they participated in the games. The messages were determined to be a hoax, but the recipients were rattled.

Sochi is close to the terrorist hubs of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. There have been suicide bombings not far from the Olympic venues -- and threats of more to come, including from three “black widow” bombers reportedly on the loose. And a top leader has called for his followers to “do their utmost” to derail the games.

The Boston Marathon bombing (not to mention the Olympic Games in Atlanta and Munich) showed that no mass gathering can be guaranteed safe from such threats. But the notion that Sochi would make the best possible Olympic venue now seems dangerously far-fetched.

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