Colorado

Jan 9, 2014 10:08 PM by Maddie Garrett

Athlete's Parent Talks Safety Concerns Ahead of Olympics

New violence in Russia is raising new security concerns over the Olympics. Some of that concern is coming from Colorado Springs, where the USOC reiterated in a statement Thursday that safety and security remains its top priority in Sochi.

The agency is working with law enforcement and intelligence agents in Sochi to make sure all Americans, from athletes to staff, friends, family and fans, are safe during their visit. But for some parents, concerns still linger.

In response to two attacks and recent terrorist threats, tens of thousands of police and intelligence agents have descended on the Olympic city.

"The Russian's commitment to security, which is frankly, one of the highest levels of commitment we've ever seen from a government," said Scott Blackum, USOC CEO.

But all of the police and security can't quiet some underlying concerns.

"Traveling as a lone female American in Russia is a little bit scary for me," said Diane Jones.

Jones has watched her daughter, Allison Jones, compete and win in a handful of paralympics. Allison is a gold medalist and has won medals in both cycling and Alpine skiing.

"It's been wonderful to do that and to have that experience with her," said Jones.

She's hoping to have that experience again in Russia. But Jones said there's a noticeable difference this year.

"This time there's a lot more paperwork involved. Because you send your passport out, you have to get a visa, you have to do a security background check in order to get into the village this time, and I'm sure it's because of the heightened security," she explained.

While there have been security checks in years passed, Jones said this year those background checks are much more extensive.

Moms like Jones can't get credentials to stay at the USOC hotels in the secure zone, and security will be extremely tight around all Olympic venues.

But Jones is hopeful, citing that a few years ago they had similar concerns in Athens, and she made that trip too.

"I decided no I'm going to do it, whatever happens, happens. And I had such a good time there and I'm hoping Russia will be the same," said Jones.

 

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