IOC 'confident' Winter Games will be safe

The International Olympic Committee on Monday said it is confident the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be “safe and secure” despite a pair of suicide bombings that have raised terrorism concerns.

“I have personally written to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to express our condolences to the Russian people and our confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement Monday.


“I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” he said.

More than 30 people were killed in two suicide bombings over the past two days in Volgograd, Russia. The bombings in a train station and a trolley bus are sparking fears of terrorist attacks at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which are six weeks away.

Volgograd, which is 400 miles northeast of Sochi and 500 miles southeast of Moscow, is a hub into the contentious North Caucasus region, long a hotbed for Chechen separatist groups.

Doku Umarov, the leader of Russia’s Islamist movement, released a video in July vowing to unleash “maximum force” on the Sochi Olympics.

"They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on our land by the Black Sea,” Umarov said, according to The Guardian. “We as mujahideen are required not to allow that, using any methods that Allah allows us."

The Obama administration condemned the bombing and on Monday said it would stand with Russia to combat terrorism.

"The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council (NSC).

United States Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement Monday that it would ensure “all appropriate measures are in place” to keep the U.S. delegation safe in Russia.

“We are always concerned with the safety of our delegation and the Sochi Games are no different in that regard,” he said. “We will continue to work closely with the local organizing committee, our State Department and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all appropriate measures are in place.”