UK & World News

  • 25 January 2014, 6:30

Team USA Uniforms 'Pose Security Risk' In Sochi

American athletes gearing up for the Sochi Winter Olympics have been told not to wear their Team USA uniforms outside the games' venues amid security concerns.

A memo sent by the US Olympic Committee says they should avoid wearing team colours too prominently when they are not in the so-called 'Ring of Steel'.

The secured boundary stretches for about 60 miles along the southwest coast of Russia and 25 miles inland.

To get inside, spectators will have to pass through police checkpoints where cars and luggage will be X-rayed.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his reputation on a successful and safe Olympics and there are concerns that terrorists could target the games.

Security officials are hunting three potential female suicide bombers ahead of the start of the games next month.

One of the suspects, 22-year-old Ruzanna Ibragimova, was reported to be at large in Sochi.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the memo about uniforms said: "The US Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk."

American snowboard half-pipe rider Greg Bretz said US Olympic officials "have told us not to wear our USA gear outside of the venues".

But he added: "I have so much faith in the United States and our safety that I'm not too worried about it."

A number of countries say they have received threats against their athletes ahead of the games which take place between February 7 and 23.

Britain, Italy, Germany and Hungary are among the nations whose Olympic Committees have confirmed they have received threatening emails.

Statements suggested that some or all of the committees may have received the same message - warning of attacks against competitors or delegates if they travel to the games in Sochi.

The British Olympic Association and the International Olympic Committee described the email threat as "not credible".

Last month, the southern city of Volgograd was rocked by two suicide bombings, which killed 34 and injured dozens more.

An Islamic militant group in Dagestan recently posted a video claiming responsibility for the bombings and threatened to target the games, around 300 miles west of Dagestan.

At the Opening Ceremony, US athletes will wear the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms featuring a cardigan with stars, an American flag, and the Olympic rings, as well as hats.

The company said: "A dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic colour palette of red, white and navy defines the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA Opening ceremony uniform, which is proudly Made in America."

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