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SBD Global/January 31, 2014/Olympics
Sochi Organizing Committee President Reaffirms That City Is Secure For Olympics
Published January 31, 2014
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SPEAKING OUT: In Sydney, Jacquelin Magnay reported Sochi Olympic officials "have warned that athletes will not be allowed to speak out about anything other than sport, except in a corralled speakers' corner kilometres away from the venues." Chernyshenko "contradicted" IOC President Thomas Bach and "denied athletes would be free to speak out at press conferences." The differences in the interpretation "has put the spotlight on the ongoing tension between the IOC and Russia" since President Vladimir Putin introduced a law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Those divisions widened when Chernyshenko said that athletes could only talk about sport to the media and claimed if they wanted to talk about other issues they could do so only at "a speakers' corner." This "specially constructed protest zone is seven kilometres from the Olympic precinct in a town called Khosta" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/31).
SPECIAL PROTECTION: REUTERS' Julien Pretot reported French Olympic athletes "will be protected by French national police and gendarmerie special operations units in Sochi." Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron said, "(Special operations units) GIGN (gendarmerie) and RAID (police) will be at the athletes' side, DGSE (external intelligence agency) will liaise with the Russian authorities" (REUTERS, 1/30).
FASHION POLICE: REUTERS' Belinda Goldsmith reported athletes heading to the Sochi Olympics "have been warned not to wear team kit with large logos promoting their country on their way to Russia due to security concerns." Britain has joined the U.S. in cautioning athletes and officials against wearing "overtly branded" clothing en route to Sochi where the athletes' village opens on Thursday. A British Olympic Association spokesperson said that its 56 athletes and 64 officials "were advised to travel in items from their 111-piece team kit with small, discrete logos." The spokesperson said, "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" (REUTERS, 1/30).
INTERPOL STEPS IN: The AP reported Interpol said that it has agreed with the IOC to "step up policing at international sports events." The int'l police agency said the agreement will provide "enhanced collaboration" with the IOC on issues such as doping, match-fixing and illegal or irregular sports betting. The agreement also calls for Interpol "to provide additional support to to ensure the security of international matches and competitions" (AP, 1/30).