<
>

USOC warns about uniform safety

The U.S. Olympic Committee is warning athletes about wearing uniforms outside Olympic venues in Sochi, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Friday.

The USOC consulted with the State Department on creating guidelines for athlete's safety.

"The U.S. Olympic Committee, I think, had discussed with its athletes, as part of how to sort of stay safe and things to look out for as part of the Games, this issue about, you know, just being careful about where you wear U.S. logos or things like that -- this isn't unique to Russia, to be clear," she said. "We generally give this kind of guidance around big international events, particularly if there is some kind of threat like we've seen here."

Harf said the request for travelers to be aware of their surroundings is not unusual.

"This was based on discussions with the State Department, but it's my understanding that it was actually the U.S. Olympic Committee who passed that along to the athletes. But we are -- setting aside the details, we are in very close contact with the U.S. Olympic Committee on issues related to security. And in general, it's not unusual for us to recommend that athletes or, you know, people around the world be careful where they wear certain things and just be careful of their surroundings."

Russian officials say they have foiled one bombing plot and engaged in a shootout that killed Eldar Magatov, a man described as a senior Islamist militant and a suspect in numerous attacks on Russian targets.

Officials also amped up a search in Sochi for up to three women from Dagestan, whom the Russian authorities suspect could be planning a suicide bombing like the twin attacks in Volgograd that killed 34 people in December.

Those blasts followed Chechen warlord Doku Umarov's call to launch attacks on the Olympics, a threat that was repeated by the two purported suicide bombers in a video promising more blood would be spilled if the Games go on.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says safety measures undertaken by the Russian government at the Sochi site of the Olympics are the "most impressive" in the history of the Games.

The United States, preparing for a potential terrorist attack, plans to station ships nearby the Olympics in the Black Sea, where Russian submarines are already patrolling. The ships could be part of contingency plans to evacuate American citizens if needed.

Visitors to Sochi must also register if they plan to stay more than three days. Ticket holders at events will receive special spectator passes that automatically transmit their personal data to the security forces.

Security concerns for the Olympics in Sochi continue to be a hot topic of conversation among athletes, with some deciding to leave their families at home because of growing concerns of terrorist threats.

"I told my family not to go, but my mom wants to go so I can't stop her. I would prefer if she didn't go," said Boston Bruins forward David Krejci, who is representing the Czech Republic. "I understand everybody who doesn't want their families to go. It's a scary situation. I'm sure the Russian president is going to take care of everything and he'll make the Olympic Games safe, but we'll see what happens."

Information from ESPN New York's Johnette Howard and ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald was used in this report.