The fanfare, the patriotism, and the epitome of the competitive spirit at the Olympic Games plays out for most of us only on television.
"There is no greater media venue in the world than the Olympic games," said terrorism expert Steve Ijames. "This is the world stage."
That's exactly the reason, he says, it is the number one target for terrorists.
"If you said, 'Hey, I have an opportunity to go,' I'd say, 'Don't go,'" said Ijames, a retired Springfield Police Department major.
It's advice from an internationally known security and tactical rock star. Ijames has helped secure places all over the world, including the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
"Literally, for those who would terrorize or disrupt an event like that, it's just the low hanging fruit," said Ijames. "Whatever target they decide to go to, they'll drive over there and do that."
"Drive" is the key word.
He says the Chechnians are the ones to watch they want to harm and embarrass Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sochi is close to their home turf.
"You can make the venue safe," said Ijames. "They can make the entry so complicated that no one can bring anything in. But what the Chechnians have demonstrated in years gone by, is their pre-planning to the degree of even hiring employees years before."
Before the Beslan school takeover, they had construction workers hide weapons inside the physical structure itself two years before the takeover, so these are not people that spontaneously decide to go over to ice skating rink today, They will, with great precision, have thought out what they are going to do.
The White House isn't as concerned.
"I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings," said President Obama. "I'm always going to feel even better if they're inside the United States, because then we have full control over what happens. But the Russian authorities understand the stakes here. They understand that there are potential threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them. We've looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they're putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there."
With locals competing," it's a little bit scary," including to families looking on.
"It'll always be in the back of my mind the whole time I'm there that something could possibly happen," said Craig Scott of Springfield, father Olympian speed skater Emily Scott.
They're praying this expert is wrong.
"The only way this Olympics will occur without a terrorist attack is if the terrorists decide not to attack," said Ijames.
Ijames says the single most important thing people can do would be to put on your thinking cap as if you were on the other side of this mindset, then avoid frequenting those places that foreigners would go and don't dress to stand out as an American.