Russia is promising that the security operation at the Sochi Olympics will be "unnoticeable" and in no way hinder the enjoyment of the Winter Games for its visitors, according to R-SPORT. Russia "faces a huge challenge in providing a safe Games because Sochi is located near the country's volatile North Caucasus region." But even so, Russia's top security agency "is vowing a smooth and slick screening process that will take nothing away from the Games experience" at the Feb. 7-23 event. Federal Security Service head Alexei Lavrishchev said, "Our security measures will be unnoticeable and in no way will inhibit the movements of Olympic guests." He also claimed that "the measures would pale in comparison with the London 2012 Summer Olympics." Lavrishchev: "If you remember London, on the roofs of houses there were snipers and rocket complexes, despite the protests of the locals. ... There were also military personnel on the streets, but we will not have this" (R-SPORT, 10/2).
Incheon, South Korea Deputy Mayor Jo Myoung-u said that the city "hopes to use an upcoming national multisport competition to prepare for a larger international event it will host next year," according to YONHAP. Incheon will stage the 94th National Sports Festival from Oct. 18-24, "bringing together 22,000 athletes and 8,000 officials in 44 medal sports and two demonstration events." The city "will also hold the 2014 Asian Games next September." Jo said, "The most important task for us at the National Sports Festival is to prepare ourselves for the Asian Games" (YONHAP, 10/2).
U.S. Olympic officials said on Tuesday that "they support amending the Olympic Charter to boost support for gay athletes but cautioned that its main role is as a sports body and not a human rights organization." USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said, "First and foremost we are a sport's organization, we're the only organization in the world whose job it is to make sure American athletes get a chance to compete in the Olympic Games. We are not an advocacy organization or a human rights organization" (REUTERS, 10/2). ... Lance Armstrong's Olympic medal "is back with the IOC." The IOC "stripped the American rider of the bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games in January after he admitted to doping." After months of delays, "Armstrong handed back the medal two weeks ago to the USOC" (AP, 10/2). ... Germany's Olympic team "got a message across, coincidental or not, by unveiling rainbow-colored uniforms for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia." The kits, unveiled on Tuesday in a runway show in Dusseldorf, "were interpreted by many as a protest against Russia's anti-gay laws." But German sports officials maintained that "no political or social message was being sent" (L.A. TIMES, 10/2).