Northerners plan travel to Sochi despite safety concerns
Some Northerners travelling to the Sochi 2014 Olympics Winter Games are mindful of security concerns but they say it won't stop them from going to Russia.
Suicide bombs last month, a few hundred kilometres away from Sochi, raised international alarm about safety at the Games, and this week threatening emails were sent to a string of European Olympic offices.
Alain Masson of Whitehorse, a wax technician with the Canadian ski team, has been to several Olympics and he expects this will have the most security he's ever seen. But he says he's not worried.
"The Canadian Olympic Association has put together an action plan in order to know where all of the athletes, support staff and coaches are at all times and with communication in place," he said.
He says should anything occur, that communication system will provide guidelines quickly to the Canadians.
Masson also takes comfort that Olympic organizers have experts in place to deal with security.
Other Yukoners going are also conscious of the threats.
Whitehorse massage therapist Stephen Waterreus will also be travelling with Canada's ski team.
"I'm not naive," he said. "I know that there are issues there and there are possibilities for 'terrorist attacks' but my focus is my job."
The parents of Yukon skier Emily Nishikawa, who was named to the Olympic team just last week, are still arranging their travel details but expect to be there to see her ski.
We're not going to let those concerns override our happiness about this opportunity.- Joan Stanton
"Frankly what you hear on the news is concerning, definitely, but you know we made a decision to go and we're not going to let those concerns override our happiness about this opportunity," said Nishikawa's mother, Joan Stanton.
Stanton says her family will be as careful as possible while in Russia and they'll pay particular attention to their surroundings. They plan to return to their accommodations after Olympic events and, as some travel warnings recommend, they won't venture outside the main communities.
Yellowknifer Robin Greig is also heading to Russia to attend the Games. He's a speedskating coach, official and long time friend of speedskater Michael Gilday.
Greig says he's not too worried about security issues but will take commonsense precautions such as not getting involved in group protests, and travelling with a group.
He plans to make sure our athletes know people back home are behind them.
"We're going to try to take a flag and wave that in the stands at the events we're going to go to," he said. "We're planning on going to the events that Brendan [Green] is skiing at as well."
He said he is setting up a blog so Northerners will be able to follow him and our athletes at the Games.