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Sports

April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon bombs put world's cities on alert

(Continued)

The Boston bombings underscored the security challenges facing next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

Ever since the attacks by Palestinian gunmen that killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Munich Games, security has been a paramount concern for the Olympics.

“We are very, very concerned,” senior IOC member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway told the AP. “Security is priority No. 1, no question about it.”

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said “all necessary measures” are being taken to ensure security at the World Cup and the Rio Olympics.

Russian officials gave mixed signals over whether they needed to increase security at key sporting events like the World Athletics Championship and the Sochi Games.

The track and field championship, which takes place in Moscow on Aug. 10-18, is seen as a dress rehearsal for Sochi.

One top sports official said security was being increased but others said Russia’s take on Olympic security was already very robust.

Officials will speak with Boston Marathon organizers to find out what more precautions are needed, said Mikhail Butov, secretary general of the Russian Athletics Federation, adding that “when it’s clear what actually happened (in Boston), we will draw our own conclusions.”

Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev told the Interfax news agency that the Boston bombings revealed “problems” in ensuring security at outdoor events and expressed concern that it may inspire “other organizers of terrorist attacks.”

In addition to Sunday’s event in London, more than 30 marathons are also being held across the world this weekend in countries across Europe, in Japan, South Africa and around the United States.

In Serbia, officials said they would raise their guard for the race.

“We will do our best so that this year the security level is even higher,” said Dejan Nikolic, the organizer of Sunday’s Belgrade Marathon.

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