Some Olympians express concern over Sochi safety

BY Sam Lane  January 24, 2014 at 3:00 PM EST

Some athletes planning to compete in February’s Sochi Winter Olympics have voiced concerns about their safety following terrorist threats in the region.

The unease stem from a variety of incidents, including a recent video threatening a “surprise” in Sochi that emerged as Russian authorities search for terrorists, according to NBC News.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a memo sent by the US Olympic Committee to athletes warned them to avoid wearing American uniforms outside competition venues. Neither the committee nor the US State Department commented on the note.

Ryan Suter and Zach Parise — star players on the Minnesota Wild and members of the U.S. Olympic hockey team — told the Minneapolis Star Tribune they won’t be bringing their families to Sochi.

“I’m actually really concerned about it,” Parise wrote in an e-mail to the paper. “I know they say they have evacuation stuff for us and all, but you just never know. I guess you have to wonder at what point does someone say it isn’t a good idea for us to go.”

Canadian goalie Mike Smith told CBS Sports this week that it’s “not worth it” to bring his family amid the security concerns.

According to NBC News, in the event of an attack, the US evacuation plan includes using two warships in the Black Sea with planes on standby in Europe.

Despite athletes, the Russians have insisted the Olympics will be safe. NBC reports President Vladimir Putin has spent $50 billion on the games, including a so-called “Ring of Steel” around the Olympic city.