Interview Secretary of State John Kerry With Al Koken of Comcast SportsNet
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, given the understandable political climate around the Sochi Games, how important is it for you and others to be here on a night where you honor the athletes that will be representing the United States?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, it’s an honor to be here and the Olympics are special for people all over the world, it’s one of the greatest sporting events. As a hockey fan, I’m really excited – that I think we’re competitive this year. It’s going to be a really exciting series of matches, and it’s fun to come here and just sort of celebrate the Olympics and celebrate hockey.
QUESTION: As you know, there are a number of United States and Canadian hockey players who’ve decided not to take family, not to take friends. What is your assessment of the security situation for those who will be at Sochi?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, obviously, people have heard about the events that took place in Russia previously. And there’s been a lot of chatter about security and it’s a concern, but it’s not something – I mean, if somebody said to me, “I’m thinking of going to the Olympics,” I’d say, “Go and have a terrific time.” And there’s huge security, there’s been an enormous amount of preparation, and I can’t tell people that – I think everybody has to take precautions as we do anywhere now. Look at the Boston Marathon for instance. Any sporting event, any global event, you want to take precautions. But I believe huge efforts have been made, the security is strong, and I would say to anybody who asked me, “Should I go?” I’d say, “Yeah, and have a great time.”
QUESTION: As most of you know, Secretary Kerry not just a hockey fan but a very active hockey player, but has your new job cut into your ice time?
SECRETARY KERRY: Big time. (Laughter.) Last time I skated was our family broom hockey game around Christmas. So I got to get out there. I want to get out there. I just haven’t found the time to be here when I can.
QUESTION: So tough to get a three-on-three game in Riyadh, is that —
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah. (Laughter.) Yeah, but there – it’s funny. I see some rinks around. I get excited occasionally in various places I go, but I haven’t been able to get out.
QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, thank you so much.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks, man.