Olympic Security: Assessing the Risk of Terrorism at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games

Michael Zekulin


The Olympic Winter Games are coming to Vancouver Canada in February 2010. This paper dissects and examines the challenges facing those responsible for planning and implementing security at the Games. It identifies three specific challenges which previous Olympic security planners have faced including: logistical challenges, inter-agency cooperation and a dependence on volunteers. Following an explanation of these issues, each one is examined in the context of the Vancouver experience. This paper finds evidence to support the contention that the challenges associated with Olympic security planning generally, coupled with issues unique to the Vancouver Games may affect security at the Games. It suggests that while a large scale attack by international terror groups such as al-Qaida appears unlikely, the threat of smaller scale attacks or disruptions from domestic groups remains a possibility.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.