SOURCE ALERT: USC Experts for the Sochi Winter Olympics

January 31, 2014

Contact: Andrew Good at (213) 740-8606 or

USC experts are available to discuss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This year’s stories include the role of social media in reporting, the threat of terrorism and the chance of LGBT rights protests during the games.

Why #triplelutz might appear in your Twitter feed

Daniel Durbin is director of the USC Annenberg School’s Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society. He can discuss how the Sochi Olympics Games will influence the popularity of winter sports and to what extent social media could impact the games.

“The Olympics remains the signature international sporting event. It brings together global politics and economy, international public diplomacy, and media into a single dramatic narrative.”

Contact him at: (213) 821-6615 or

How real is the threat of a terrorist attack?

Erroll Southers is associate director of USC’s Center for Risk, Economic Analysis and Terrorism Events (CREATE). He can discuss security and counterterrorism efforts at the Sochi Olympic Games.

“Every Olympiad faces the threat of terrorism. Unlike previous Games, however, Sochi’s proximity to the Caucasus Emirates, coupled with the soft targets of nearby transportation hubs, mean there is substantial risk for terrorism outside the Olympic Village and the so-called Ring of Steel.”

Contact him at: (323) 816-8045 or

Russia under the world’s eye

Patrick James is director of the USC Center for International Relations at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. He can discuss how media scrutiny of Russia during the Winter Games could impact the country’s domestic and international politics.

“This is a high-risk situation for the Russian regime, which is embattled by its corrupt reputation and intensely seeking good publicity. The heavy-handed Russian government is under more pressure than the average Olympic host to show that such a major event can come off without scandals both at the time and afterward, even leaving aside the questions about security that already have been asked.”

Contact at (213) 821-4114 or

“Creative and passionate” protests for LGBT rights

Karen Tongson is an associate professor of English & Gender Studies at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. She can comment on LGBT rights being on the global stage during the Sochi Olympic Games, as well as the possibility of protests.

“While all eyes will be on the Sochi games for signs of discrimination against openly gay athletes, we should also be on the look out for the myriad, creative and passionate demonstrations of protest from the athletes competing, as well as from national delegations with ‘friendlier’ LGBT rights agendas. The games present an opportunity for new expressions of LGBT dissent against violent and restrictive policies that have been emerging globally at the same time the ‘equality’ agenda is advancing in other nations.”

Contact her at: (213) 740-2817 or

Trojans Competing in the Olympics

USC has a long tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes. USC has more Olympians, medalists and gold medalists than any school. Since 1904, 420 Trojan athletes have competed in the summer and winter Games, taking home 135 gold medals (with at least one gold in every summer Olympics since 1912), 88 silver and 64 bronze. There have been four winter Olympians from USC (Randy Gardner, Lyle Nelson, Mike Gonzales and Jung-Hwa Seo).