At the Frontline: U.S. Olympic Committee CSO Larry Buendorf

CSO Larry Buendorf discusses keeping America’s athletes safe at the Olympics


Fortunately we are in sport and in sport it’s about fair play and we try to take that to all of our competitions and keep politics away form the field of play. When you go to something like the Olympics and you’re around all the athletes from all the various countries and you see how they interact with each other, it gives you a warm feeling about possible peace in the world because you see it existing in an Olympic atmosphere. A lot of the conflicts and problem areas throughout the world kind of come to an end at the Olympic Games because, hopefully, it doesn’t cross into sport.

Is there one particular type of terror that is more a concern now than in years past? (i.e. the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, in which gunmen captured and killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team?)

The modus operandi of the terrorists is one that is very difficult to grasp. It changes; the way they’re making their attacks varies so much it’s difficult to understand the mind of a terrorist. When you’re willing to sacrifice your life, that creates a whole different problem than some other issue like kidnapping. When you talk about a person willing to become a bomb, you have to take certain precautions to make sure that type of a person doesn’t enter into the field of play, doesn’t enter into a stadium. Now you begin to get more measures put in place, magnetometers, bag checks and all the other measures that have to be put into place now because we have this new approach we have to look at. That person that walks into a stadium in 95 degree weather with a great big coat on is probably going to attract a lot of attention from others.

Would you say U.S. athletes are a bigger target for terrorists than others?

I don’t think so. Like I say, there has been no direction of interest toward sport. So our athletes are kind of going about their business of competing and I don’t think that fear of terrorism is in the back of their mind, I think that they’re focused on their sport and the competition.

On the web:
U.S. Olympic Committee webpage