Former Dragon W. Brett Wilson cancels Sochi trip over 'credible threats'
Some Olympic athletes telling relatives to stay away due to safety concerns
Former Calgary Dragons' Den personality W. Brett Wilson said on Sunday he and his family are cancelling their plans to go to Sochi for the Olympics because of "credible threats."
The entrepreneur announced his decision publicly on Twitter shortly before 2 p.m. MT, saying the choice was a "tough decision" for him and his family.
Wilson later told CBC News that, in the end, he just couldn't justify the risk.
"When you're taking stakes which, quite frankly, are your lives — and in this case, the lives of my children and I — I'm just not willing to put that gamble on the table, even if the risk is extremely low," Wilson said. "When you've got what appear to be credible threats, it just makes you uncomfortable."
Wilson says he and his family had planned to arrive in Sochi in Feb. 18 and spend six days watching the Olympic Winter Games.
However, the potential for an attack en route to Sochi and an overall lack of comfort with security at the event led to their decision to cancel the trip.
"It was a buildup over time of uncertainty," he said. "I have a friend in Sochi right now and I spoke with him. He said, 'Brett, this place looks pretty damn safe, there is security everywhere.' But that creates two things — it creates complexity in terms of getting around Sochi and it also creates opportunity, potentially, in other places."
Wilson says he had planned to travel from Istanbul to Sochi, while his children planned to come in from Moscow.
Now, he has donated his tickets and hotel space into a pool so that others who still want to go can do so.
Athletes' families, friends also avoid Sochi
The entrepreneur and philanthropist isn't the only one worried about security at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Members of Canada's official delegation have been discussing with their family members about whether it is safe to attend the Olympic Games.
Some athletes are also telling relatives to stay away.
"The security threat to the Olympics, this particular Olympics, is the greatest I have ever seen," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.
The venues are now among the most tightly guarded facilities in the world but officials are worried the rest of the town is more vulnerable.
Islamic militants worry planners
More than 100,000 police, security agents and army troops are in Sochi for what Russia has promised will be "the safest Olympics in history," but there are widespread concerns of a possible terror attack.
With unrest in the Caucasus, security experts say the biggest threat comes from Islamic militants and jihadists who may have infiltrated Sochi before security was tightened.
There have been 124 suicide attacks in Russia over the past 13 years.
Sochi's transportation network is often cited as being particularly vulnerable to attack, as could planes flying low over the sea towards the airport.