February 3 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has repeated assurances over security ahead of an Olympic Games he claimed will be a "milestone" for winter sport.
Speaking this afternoon, Bach claimed the Games in Sochi are "unique in many ways", but not in terms of security, because every major event - sporting or otherwise - is now under threat of terrorist attack.
But, after drawing a comparison with the Salt Lake City 2002 Games which took place in a similar climate following the September 11 attacks in the United States, Bach remains confident a heavy security presence will not detract from the Olympic spectacle.
"In all the Olympic venues in Salt Lake City you could enjoy a very good atmosphere and I think this will really flourish again in Sochi", he said.
Following the dual bomb attacks on consecutive days in Volgograd in December, security has become the most pressing issue dogging the build-up in recent weeks - with several countries including Australia introducing restrictions on the movement of athletes throughout the Games to combat these fears.
Bach also provided reassurances about several other concerns ahead of the Games getting underway on Friday (February 7).
This included repetition of the IOC's stance that they stand against discrimination for any reason - including on the grounds of gender, race and sexuality - and that they have received promises from the Russian Government this principle will be upheld throughout the Games.
He added: "As a follow-up just a couple of weeks ago, there was a meeting between [deputy prime minister] Dmitry Kozak and ombudsman for human rights and, as a result of this, 277 million roubles ($7.8 million/£4.8 million/€5.8 million) have been paid to workers in 13 companies to address this issue."
In similarly positive vein, Bach also praised the state-of-the-art facilities and predicted how - after conversations with coaches, athletes and officials in Sochi - he feels "the Olympic stage is ready for the best winter athletes in the world".
He hailed the record number of nations competing, totalling 87, as well as the unprecedented television coverage spanning 200 countries and more than 75,000 hours during the Games.
In an interesting analysis, he also outlined how the Olympics in Sochi have inspired the "transformation of a whole region" from the state of affairs following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when there was no winter sports centre in Russia, to the extent that national championships had to be held in other countries.
"The Games are a catalyst for development, as was the case with London 2012, and hosting the Olympics is not a 17 day investment but one where people will benefit for generations to come", Bach said.
"Russia's aim was to establish a winter sports centre for athletes and populations - which is a respectful intention and one which, after seven years, has now been realised".
February 2014: Japan "fully trust" plans to ensure security during Sochi 2014
February 2014: Australia to restrict movement of athletes during Sochi 2014 as safety precaution
January 2014: IOC President Bach predicts "great Games" as arrives in Sochi
January 2014: "Sochi safe but I can't discount the risks", says US President Obama
January 2014: "I'm sleeping very well" claims Bach as quizzed on Sochi 2014 fears