LAKE PLACID — It looks like, after the Winter Games wrap up, Sochi and Lake Placid will be linked as Olympic sister cities.
The proclamation with Sochi has to be reviewed first by the Russian authorities, Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall explained.
”As part of the Russian Federation, the proclamation requires approval from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Toward that end, Sochi Mayor Anatoly N. Pakhomov requested a draft copy.
“Taking into consideration the time they need for approval, Sochi’s mayor asked if they could sign the agreement after the Olympics have ended,” Randall said.
The Sister City agreement connects global communities, allowing them to share experiences as Olympic tourism destinations, Randall said.
Lake Placid has similar agreements with most Winter Olympic cities, except for Sarajevo and Nagano.
Ceremonial agreements were signed most recently with Vancouver, Torino in Italy and with Salt Lake City.
But the proclamation with Sochi requires approval from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“At this point, Jim McKenna, who manages this activity for us (through the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism), and I will most likely continue our quest after the Games,” Randall said.
Lake Placid’s mayor is not excessively concerned with safety for the local athletes, their family members and supporters at the games.
Olympic Winter Games were held here in 1980, not long after Israeli athletes were attacked and killed at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.
“The Munich games is really where all this got started,” Randall said. “In recent Olympic games, summer or winter, security measures, the safety of our athletes, supporting personnel and family members have become a primary focus.
”This is just one of those sentinel activities where, not only is the entire world watching, but people are also looking for ways to disturb it and get the attention.
“I think the best advice I can offer is to be safe, be aware, pay attention — just like you would traveling in any unfamiliar or new foreign city.
”Don’t put yourselves in situations where there is likely to be an issue.”
The same good measure of vigilance, really, he said, is part of any international travel activity.
“We are focused on our U.S. athletes, but anybody coming from any country is facing the same exposure.”
The U.S. Department of State has advised American athletes not to wear their team uniforms in regions beyond a safety zone established around Olympic venues.
“We’re aware they (U.S. authorities) are moving resources, like ships and other military evacuation equipment, into the region. And to the athletes, it has been suggested that they not present themselves as prominent targets,” Randall said.
“In truth, I have high confidence in the Olympic organizing community’s ability to protect people.”
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau also has confidence in safety measures in place for competitors participating in these games.
“You can’t live in fear,” he said.
“I would like to hope that the true Olympic spirit of the world — being one big family — will prevail in this sports event. I can envision everyone dancing together at the closing ceremonies.”
There are 230 U.S. athletes in the Olympic delegation, which is the largest contingent ever to compete. There will be some 10,000 Americans attending the games in Russia.
Neither Randall nor McKenna are attending the Olympic Winter Games, as they have in the past.
“We have many local area athletes participating in the Olympics, I would have very much enjoyed being with them in Sochi,” Randall said.
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