News / Europe

Sochi Olympic Athletes Warned Not to Wear Big Country Logos

People walk past as the Olympic rings and the cauldron for the Olympic flame are reflected in a puddle of water on the Olympic Park as preparations continue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Jan. 30, 2014.
People walk past as the Olympic rings and the cauldron for the Olympic flame are reflected in a puddle of water on the Olympic Park as preparations continue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Jan. 30, 2014.
Reuters
Athletes heading to the Sochi Winter Olympics have been warned not to wear team kits with large logos promoting their country on their way to Russia due to security concerns, British Olympic officials said on Thursday.
 
Britain has joined the United States in cautioning athletes and officials against wearing “overtly branded” clothing en route to Sochi where the athletes' village opens on Thursday.
 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Security at the Winter Games is expected to be tight with the potential threat of an attack on Sochi, which lies on the western edge of the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, scene of an insurgency aiming to create an Islamist state.
 
A spokeswoman for the British Olympic Association (BOA) said its 56 athletes and 64 officials were advised to travel in items from their 111-piece team kit with small, discrete logos.
 
“While we have not received any information or advice suggesting an increase in the threat level, we are taking a common-sense approach in recommending that team members wear less overtly branded Team GB kit during their journey to Sochi,” the BOA spokeswoman said.
 
“This advice is similar to guidance being offered to other delegations by their respective National Olympic Committees.”
 
This undated product image provided by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic skater Evan Lysacek wearing fashion by designer Ralph Lauren for the 2014 Winter Olympics.This undated product image provided by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic skater Evan Lysacek wearing fashion by designer Ralph Lauren for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
x
This undated product image provided by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic skater Evan Lysacek wearing fashion by designer Ralph Lauren for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
This undated product image provided by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic skater Evan Lysacek wearing fashion by designer Ralph Lauren for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Concern about potential attacks on the Feb. 7-23 Games has heightened in the wake of twin suicide bombings last month in the city of Volgograd, about 700 km (400 miles) northeast of Sochi, which killed 34 people.
 
British officials have warned that further attacks were likely and could take place anywhere in Russia.
 
The U.S. Olympic Committee, which is sending the largest team to Sochi, with 230 athletes, issued a travel memo advising against wearing conspicuous Team USA gear outside the secure Olympic compound, such as the red, white, and blue cardigan with stars and stripes designed by Ralph Lauren.
 
“The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk,” said the memo, widely reported in the U.S. media.
 
Officials caution athletes about safety at every Olympics but the BOA spokeswoman could not recall previous cautions about not wearing branded team kit.
 
Countries competing at Sochi are taking various measures to ensure the safety of their athletes and spectators.
 
While France's delegation has not received cautions over  kit, its 116 athletes will receive extra protection at Sochi from French national police and gendarmerie special operations units, Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron said on Thursday.
 
This comes on top of the 37,000 personnel on combat alert deployed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 
“We have done some preparatory work with our experts and everything has been done to make sure our athletes and fans are safe,” Fourneyron told daily Le Parisien. “There will be maximal vigilance.”
 
About 6,000 athletes, coaches and officials from around 90 countries will take part in events at Sochi ranging from Alpine skiing to ice hockey and snowboarding.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs