As rain continues to ravage Vermont’s ski conditions this season, a different force is disrupting the Russian region that will host the 22nd installment of the Winter Olympics. Shortly after New Year’s the bodies of six men were discovered in four different locations in Southern Russia, not far from the host city of Sochi. In a number of the locations the bodies were found accompanied by explosive devices that luckily did not harm any civilians or authorities. The attacks follow two more that occurred just before the New Year on December 29 and 30, both of which produced fatal results. It is believed these attacks have been carried out by members of the North Caucasus Islamist Group. This same group of Islamist extremists has made a number of threats against the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. They claim the event is dishonoring the land their ancestors were buried on. The leader of the terrorist group was quoted saying they would use “maximum force” to prevent the Olympic Games from taking place. From their prior attacks it is clear this could be much more than a scare tactic, as they have displayed their aggression killing or seriously injuring over 400 people, many of them children. This has sparked new security concerns for visitors of the upcoming games, as well as the Russian locals. As the games approach the publicity of these attacks could cause some major for the games.
These attacks shed some light on the importance of venue selection in event marketing, and following that is ensuring the security and safety of visitors, participants, or whoever else may be in attendance at the event. Whether it is a large or small event, the venue safety is of utmost importance. Ensuring that attendees can feel safe and secure during their stay is imperative to the success of an event, and marketing that safety to consumers is crucial for success. When incidents such as these attacks occur and are heavily publicized, the question of safety often arises. This lack of comfort could be a deterrent for many prospective visitors attending the Sochi Games and could lead to lower numbers and negative outcomes for the games, and the surrounding businesses and cities. The Olympics being such a heavily publicized event involving such an array of nations makes it highly susceptible to both large and small scale criminal or terrorist activities, making it an even more difficult venue to secure and market. As the venue cannot be changed, it will be interesting to see how Russia and the International Olympic Committee handle the press and fragility of these terrorist attacks, as they will certainly Impact the attendance of the Olympic Games as well as the possible participation of some nation’s athletes. I am interested to see how security measures are beefed up in Sochi without disrupting the flow of the games, but we will all sit in anticipation until it comes time to light the Olympic Flame in Sochi this February.