NBC Prepares for Violence, Security Issues at Sochi Olympics

Jan 9, 2014  •  Post A Comment

NBC is preparing to cover potential violence at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, coming up in Sochi, Russia, reports Capital New York, which describes Sochi as “a unique case.”

“For starters, one of the largest terrorist groups operating in Russia, the Caucasus Emirate, has promised to attack the Games,” the story reports. “Last month, two suicide bombers struck in Volgograd, Russia, killing 30 people. Those attacks heightened fears of possible attacks in Sochi, just over 600 miles away.”

The network has a game plan for coverage, in case security issues arise, the story says.

“Sadly, at every Olympics since ’72, that has been on people’s minds as you are going in,” Jim Bell, the executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage, told Capital New York. He was referring to the 1972 Munich Olympics, where the Black September group killed 11 Israeli athletes. “You’re thinking, ‘Well, shit, what if something really bad happens?’ because it still has that potential.”

Foreign correspondent Jim Maceda is already in Sochi, reporting on the aftermath of the Volgograd bombings, while chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is in the area “to kind of become steeped in all the issues of the Caucasus,” Bell told the publication.

“Today” and “NBC Nightly News” will both originate from Sochi, while on-air talent will also be in Russia during the Games, including “Today” co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, the story reports. NBC News President Deborah Turness will also be on-site.

As for keeping its guests and staff safe, the network also has a “full team of people” in place to ensure their security, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus told the publication.

Still, NBC is sending fewer people to Sochi than it did for London and Vancouver, the story notes. “Security may be one factor, but logistics is another,” given its remote location and how few people speak English, requiring translators, equipment and even cars to be brought in, the story says.

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