WI Olympic athlete tells his family to stay home amid threats

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — We are just over two weeks away from the Sochi Olympic Games — and there are concerns over the safety of those who will be there. Because of that, one Wisconsin athlete has asked his family to stay home instead of traveling to Russia — even though it’s his final time competing in the Olympics.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun this year, training and enjoying pretty much what’s going to be my last year of speed skating,” Tucker Fredricks said.

After competing in two previous Olympics, Janesville native Tucker Fredricks is preparing for his final Olympic appearance in Sochi, Russia.

“Even though I’d love to keep skating, my body’s just kind of breaking down a little bit,” Fredricks said.

This time, things will be different at the Olympics for Fredricks. Instead of having his family cheering him on in the arena, they’ll be doing it thousands of miles away — back home in the States.

“I asked everybody to stay back home. They kind of warned us they have no control of anything outside the bubble — and that’s kind of where the families would be,” Fredricks said.

Terror threats have U.S. and Olympic officials warning of possible dangers for fans going to the Olympics.

“The athlete villages and everything, I’m sure that’ll be fine,” Fredricks said.

While athletes like Fredricks prepare for so many distractions, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Marquette University, Nakia Gordon, believes this concern could be overwhelming for athletes.

“You train for the noise of the crowd and the other people in the area, but you can’t really train for your family being in danger,” Gordon said.

Gordon sees Fredricks’ decision as him taking control of his emotions during his preparation and competition.

“He might be able to still put that out of his mind, but the idea of dealing with that additional distraction — I can imagine it makes sense to him to remove that as best as he can,” Gordon said.

“It’s kind of nice knowing that they’re going to be home watching from TV,” Fredricks said.

Fredricks says he talks to his parents once a week.

For him, this is his last chance at competing in the Olympics, and his goal all year has been to have fun — something he says he’ll do even without his family there with him.

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