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Winter Olympics: Securing the Sochi Games [Video]

A visitor poses next to a Sochi Winter Olympics security officer last week at Rosa Khutor Mountain Cluster village in Sochi, Russia. (Photo:Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

By Joe Ruley | BSU at the Games

Russia has created one of the world’s largest security forces for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Doug Fry is in Sochi, Russia, to cheer on his daughter, Lyndsey Fry, a forward on the U.S. women’s hockey team. The Chandler, Ariz., resident doesn’t mind the security at Shayba Arena and elsewhere in Sochi given the potential threats.

“It makes me feel better, and I don’t think it’s intrusive at all considering this is a dangerous time to live in,” he said. “It takes five minutes.”

Those minutes spent checking things are being done by nearly 40,000 security personnel walking streets, looking through bags and patrolling train stations during the Winter Olympics, which opened Feb. 7 and run through Feb. 23.

Fans wave Russian flags outside Shayba Arena before the U.S.-Russia men’s hockey contest on Saturday at the Olympic Park for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

Russia has pulled security from police and military forces and has set them apart from the volunteer force by cladding them in purple uniforms decorated in traditional Russian patterns. These are, after all, the most expensive Olympic Games ever, with an estimated $50 billion cost, Reuters reported.

The majority of security personnel can be found at checkpoints near train station entrances and venues for the Sochi Games. The guards are searching bags and doing methodical pat-downs of passengers and spectators.

Malcom Kempt, a Canadian who is in Sochi to root on Canada’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, feels safe knowing how many guards there are.

“There’s a police presence and military presence everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to be overwhelming for the spectators,” he said. “And everyone is friendly.

“There’s a little trouble speaking English sometimes, but everyone feels safe.”

Security is tight for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. (Photo: BSU at the Games)

The security found at Winter Olympics venues is similar going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at airports in the United States. Spectators are greeted by guards at the entrance and guided to conveyor belts, where they place bags and coats in a plastic tub. The goods are scanned with monitors monitored by personnel.

Elisbeth Goodfellow is the mother of Michael Goodfellow, a member of Great Britain’s men’s curling team. She says the security guards looked through her bags after they had been through a scanner and also gave her a pat-down at Ice Cube Curling Center.

“They’re all quite thorough,” she said.

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