Winter Olympic Worries: How Will Athletes Be Affected In Sochi?
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Sochi is just a few hours away. As we get closer to the official start of the games there are still a lot of worries about terror threats.
How will all the negative attention affect athletes? KMPH Fox 26 News spoke with two time Olympic gold medalist Doctor Cathy Ferguson. She says athletes will get through the games just fine because Olympic level athletes are used to being under pressure.
"The Olympic Village is probably one of the most wonderful experiences an athlete can have," says Ferguson.
As she remembers her own Olympic experience from the 1964 Tokyo games she thinks of good, happy memories.
"It is just a magnificent experience to be with people from all over the world," says Ferguson.
The Fresno woman swam her way to 2 gold medals and a world record. She says, even back then there were still security concerns at the games.
"We were guarded every hundred feet; the woman's compound was guarded every hundred feet by Japanese guards, armed," adds the gold medalist.
She says for athletes competing in Sochi the key is not to lose sight of what they're in Russia for.
"I think athletes have a very big focus and stay in their zone," says Ferguson, "They're there to do a job and they're going to do this job to the best of their ability."
She says part of being an Olympic athlete is competing in places that are not always safe.
"I have traveled overseas to places where it isn't fun and it was hard work focusing," adds Ferguson, "I had to swim in swimming pools I would have never swum in, in the United States, they wouldn't be allowed legally."
Ferguson says that Olympic athletes are tough and they know what to do just in case something goes wrong.
"I think the Olympic USOC has prepared the athletes and they understand where the safe zone will be."
Ferguson says it is important to remember that awful things have happened at the Olympics before. There was the bombing at the 1996 games in Atlanta and Israeli athletes were held hostage and murdered during the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Ferguson says no matter what happens in Sochi the Olympics are a time for everyone to come together and recognize each other's achievements.