Countdown to Sochi: The Excitement & Worries Coming from the 2014 Winter Olympics by Lessenitt Campos

A brand new year has begun, meaning the 2014 Winter Olympics is just around the corner. With the closing of the US Olympic Trials, the excitement and worries coming from the athletes are providing mixed feelings and rising concern for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Team USA announced its 25-man Olympic Hockey Team roster after the NHL Winter Classic concluded. David Backes, forward, has an opportunity to represent team USA for the fifth time, previously appearing in three World Championships, the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics. The night of the NHL Winter Classic not only brought joy to many families, like David Backes’s, but also to fans hoping for the USA to bring home the long awaited Gold Medal in Hockey.

Brittany Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic University student and basketball player, earned a spot on the US Olympic Speed Skating Team. This eight-time gold medalist and World Record holder will be competing in her first ever Olympic Games.

“[I’m] overwhelmed by all of the love and support…Thank you to EVERYONE who has been a part of my journey on the #RoadtoSochi. WE DID IT!” tweeted Bowe.

However, the excitement coming from athletes and fans can’t stop the ongoing worries and fears that surround the Winter Olympics. According to CNN, many of the 120,000 people who are expected to visit the Olympics don’t realize that they are going to walk into a “war zone.”

Despite the security zone and intensive identity checks surrounding Sochi, the possibility in guaranteeing total security for Olympic visitors is uncertain. Also, in a possible hostage situation, the Russian forces, as showed in the past, will not make any effort to spare the lives of innocent people.

“If the political position gets any worse, I sure as hell won’t be risking my safety just for an Olympic Games,” Torah Bright, defending women’s half pipe champion, told the Australian Associated Press. “…if it comes down to countries saying `go at your own risk’ I would make a decision that would keep me safe.”

Last December, about six weeks away from the 2014 Winter Olympics, there were two suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia within two days of each other. At least 16 people were killed by a suspected female suicide bomber at a railway station while about 14 people aboard an electric bus were killed by a suspected male suicide bomber during rush hour. Many people believe that these bombings could be a result of the country’s anti-gay laws that was recently passed.

Athletes like Shawn White and Brittany Bowe haven’t stopped their training and preparation to try to win gold in 2014. Others like Torah Bright are concerned for safety and debating if to go or not. Whether or not people accept or approve of the laws and viewpoints in Russia, the Winter Olympics are still set to occur in Sochi. With the opening day fast approaching, news stations will be talking about the 2014 Winter Olympics for the coming of weeks.

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