(CNN) - People going to the winter Olympic games in Sochi, will need to be prepared for some serious pat-downs. Security at big sporting events has increased.
Web Exclusive: Security will be high for Sochi Winter Olympics
Dave Goldman , KYTX 7:59 AM. CDT March 20, 2014
The men headed to a hockey game in Sochi, Russia are not elite athletes. They're all 40 plus, amateur ice hockey players. They're in Sochi, Russia's Olympic city, so they get a police escort. Because they're playing in Sochi's new Olympic venue, the Bolshoi Ice Dome, every bus is scanned and everyone is screened as if they were boarding an international flight. But, it's even more thorough -- everyone gets a pat down. Journalists also get the full treatment.
Inside, the arena is empty. Not an obvious terror target. The players say the security is excessive, but they also understand why it's there. Russia is racing to finish its new Olympic venues by the Black Sea and in the mountains above Sochi.
Like all host countries, its other priority is security, but international terrorism isn't the only concern. This country is also dealing with an ongoing security threat within its own borders.
Russia will host these Olympic games while also fighting an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucuses.
It's a place where militants and security forces regularly clash and from where terrorists have planned numerous, devastating attacks in other parts of Russia. The most recent, a suicide bombing at Moscow's busiest airport, killed 35 people in January 2011.
Vadim Mukhanov is an expert on the North Caucuses and the groups fighting there to establish an independent Islamist state. "It's clear that having that kind of neighbor sharply increases the risks for the Olympics themselves and for the people who visit."
There's also a connection between the North Caucuses and the Boston Marathon attack. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited there in 2012 and was interested enough in the region's militants to post some of their videos online. In Sochi, some locals are feeling the shockwaves of Boston. A woman says she's worried about security at the games and since Boston she's been avoiding crowded places.
Sochi's organizers say they still believe they can stage the safest Olympics ever and this is part of that effort. Sochi's deputy mayor says the network of CCTV cameras has software that monitors crowd behavior to detect possible threats.
Russia's security services were always planning a massive effort to protect the Olympics and they'll now face greater scrutiny after Boston reminded the world big sporting events are vulnerable targets.
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