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SBD Global/February 3, 2014/Olympics

Olympic Notes: U.S. Warships Off To Black Sea Before Sochi Games Begin

U.S. officials said that "the first of two American warships heading into the Black Sea in advance of the Olympic Games has sailed from Italy." In another sign of U.S. efforts to protect Americans at the Winter Games, the FBI said that "at least two dozen agents are going to Sochi, Russia." The USS Mount Whitney "got underway Friday from Gaeta, Italy, and the Navy frigate USS Taylor is expected to leave from Naples, Italy, on Saturday" (AP, 2/1). ... IOC President Thomas Bach "moved into a room at the Olympic Village Saturday to be close to athletes competing at the Sochi Games." Bach, who is experiencing his first Olympics as IOC president, "plans to spend several nights at the village in Sochi during the Games" (DPA, 2/1). ... Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko said that the Sochi Winter Olympics "will show the world an innovative face of modern Russia." He said, "Our main task has been to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the way which would bring about positive changes and inspire the world" (XINHUA, 2/2). ... Australia's athletes "will be confined to certain secure areas during the Sochi Winter Olympics after team management specifically banned any travel to tourist cities for security reasons." Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said that the measures "were based on advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its warnings for the Russia region." Athletes who have arrived in Sochi have been told by Australian team management that "they must stay within the secure perimeters of the Olympic Park precinct, which is on the Black Sea coast; and the villages of Krasnaya Polyana, Esto-Sadok and Rosa Khutor" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/3). ... U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "called on the participants of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, to advocate equality and non-discrimination during the Games next month." Ban said, "The participants in the Sochi Games may carry the flags of many nations, but they come together under the shared banner of equality, fair play, mutual respect and non-discrimination." He asked "all those involved in the Games -- governments, groups, organizations and individuals -- to uphold and defend these core Olympic ideals" (REUTERS, 1/31).
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