SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Heavy security and Russia's anti-gay law should not detract from the Sochi Olympics, IOC President Thomas Bach said Monday.
Bach also reiterated his defense of Russia's massive spending on the Winter Games, saying the money is going to the long-term transformation of the region.
Speaking at a news conference four days before the opening ceremony, Bach again voiced his backing for Russia's ability to deliver a safe Olympics amid threats of terror attacks by Islamic militants from the North Caucasus.
"I have been assured before coming here and I am still assured being here," he said. "All the information we have from the Russian organizers and from their cooperation with the international services gives us confidence."
Tens of thousands of military and police personnel have been deployed to protect the games, as well as warships, anti-missile batteries and drone aircraft. Two U.S. warships have been dispatched to the Black Sea ahead of the games.
"Every big event nowadays is under threat, whether it's a political summit or a big convention," Bach said. "We have to address this because anything else would be surrender to terrorists and this is the last thing we all want to do."
Bach said the security operation was comparable to that for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, held just a few months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the U.S.
"There was very heavy security, yet in all the venues you could enjoy very good Olympic atmosphere and I think the same will happen here," he said. "I think the atmosphere can really flourish."
Bach also restated his position that the Russian law banning gay "propaganda" among minors would not impact the games.
"The IOC has made it very clear: We stand against any form of discrimination," he said.
Bach has received assurances from Russian President Vladimir Putin that athletes and visitors will not face any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The IOC Charter says discrimination "on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or other otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement."