Forging Ahead

American Jessica Jerome will compete in women’s ski jumping, one of several new events that will appear on the Olympic Winter Games program in Sochi. Photo courtesy of Gepa Pictures/Imago/Icon SMI
American Jessica Jerome will compete in women’s ski jumping, one of several new events that will appear on the Olympic Winter Games program in Sochi. Photo courtesy of Gepa Pictures/Imago/Icon SMI

By Jason Gewirtz

When you are organizing an event as big as the Olympic Winter Games, it would be nearly impossible to avoid some sort of controversy. And the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the Russian resort city of Sochi have certainly had their share.

While the cost to bring the winter events to what otherwise has been a summer destination along the northeastern shores of the Black Sea is beyond staggering—reportedly in excess of $50 billion—the lead-up to the Games has been overshadowed by a more ominous concern in the form of security and the safety of potential visitors. Those concerns escalated in December with two suicide bombings in Volgograd, about 400 miles from Sochi. The blasts prompted a rare travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State warning American visitors to be on high alert while using public transportation in Sochi. The alert went on to advise visitors to consider medical evacuation insurance as the medical infrastructure in Sochi is as yet untested for the amount of visitors expected.

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