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SBD Global/January 6, 2014/Olympics

Athletes Put Safety In Hands Of Australian Olympic Committee After Terror Attacks

Athletes "are putting their faith in the Australian Olympic Committee to decide if it is safe enough to travel to Russia for the Winter Olympics in February," according to Michael Carayannis of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Doubts remain over the safety of the more than 10,000 athletes "who will descend on Russia following two separate terrorist attacks." Skeleton racer John Farrow, who has traveled twice to Sochi via train, said that he "held no fears before his first Winter Olympics." Farrow: "My best wishes go out to the Russian people and families affected by these bombings but in relation to the Games I am not concerned. I would only pull out if the AOC made that decision. I trust them and how they look after us as a team and will follow what they say." Fellow Winter Olympian hopeful Michaela Davis-Meehan "is monitoring the situation." Davis-Meehan: "I don't think I will fear for my safety when I'm there. I think that there will be plenty of Russian security and the AOC wouldn't send us if they didn't think it was safe. If the AOC make a call on the Games being unsafe then I definitely wouldn't go" (SMH, 1/5). The NEW ZEALAND HERALD reported New Zealand's Winter Olympics Chef de Mission Peter Wardell "has been to Sochi three times in the past three years to check out the security measures and ensure the organisers will keep athletes and spectators safe." Wardell: "We've got absolute faith that they are going to do that. They do security really well, if somewhat different maybe in the style that we're used to. There'll be a lot of delays and people getting screened and ID checking, etcetera, all the time" (NZ HERALD, 1/5). The PTI reported the U.S. "has offered security assistance to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics." Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said that U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel made the offer on Saturday "during a telephone call to his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu." Kirby said, "The secretary condemned the attacks and said the United States stands with the Russian people against terrorism" (PTI, 1/5).
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