They were stunned and saddened, but they weren’t about to stay home.
As 15-year-old Genevieve Fernandez prepared to board a flight to Atlanta on Saturday, the Kent, Wash., dancer looked forward to putting on a show in front of an international audience.
Fernandez and her dance group will be part of the entertainment at the Olympic Games. The show will go on, they decided, despite the bombing.
“I was shocked,” Fernandez said at Spokane International Airport. “But there’s a lot of security. I’m not that worried.”
She was one of 20 excited students from The Academy of Dance who bounced around the terminal while waiting for their flight.
The Spokane-based group performs next week at Coca-Cola Olympic City, a 12-acre amusement park just blocks away from Olympic Village, where a pipe bomb exploded early Saturday morning, resulting in two deaths. More than a hundred others were injured.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking because it was so close to where we’ll be,” said Tonia Wilder, 26, one of the chaperones.
“I cried when I heard the news,” said Megan Hone, 11. “I was scared about it, and I was really nervous.”
The plane trip was a first for the Spokane girl, who said she feels sorry for the victims and their families.
Dara Depping, 17, of Spokane was too angry at the bombers to worry.
“I thought this was supposed to be a happy time,” she said. “I don’t know why anyone would want to do this.”
But the girls’ dance instructor joined parents in refusing to let an act of terrorism destroy Olympic dreams.
“I think it will just make everybody more cautious and more willing to go through the security checks,” said Janet Wilder, academy director.
“There’s always that level of concern,” said parent Ann Tichy of Liberty Lake. “But you can’t dwell on it. You can’t live in fear.”
Spokane residents in Atlanta woke up to news of the bombing.
“I was sound asleep” when the device exploded, said Superior Court Judge James Murphy, who is working as a track official during the Games.
“It just burns me up that one person with so much hate can create so much trouble for so many people,” Murphy said.
Chuck Naccarato, a court bailiff, will jump on a plane today to join Murphy, his longtime friend. He said the bombing isn’t going to stop him from enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I don’t think anybody should be held hostage over the act of some idiot or idiots,” Naccarato said. “I’m not going to let this ruin our plans.”
By late morning, the Games were running smoothly, according to Spokane resident Duane Hartman, a high jump official.
“It’s pretty smooth right now,” said Hartman, who recently retired as a track coach for Community Colleges of Spokane.
But Hartman said there was a general feeling of gloom cast over the Olympics Saturday. Flags hung at half-staff.
Fearing the bombing might prompt someone to commit a similar crime in Spokane, police issued a statement urging low-key local coverage.
“This is not the Olympic site,” wrote Capt. Roger Bragdon, “and an effort to localize the tragedy could prompt someone here to ‘copycat.”’