The State Department issued a stark warning to U.S. Olympians, telling those who are traveling to the Sochi Winter Games to refrain from wearing their team gear — and accompanying national identifiers — outside of their competition venues.
The warning comes amid heightened concerns of terrorist attacks at the games. Two separate suicide bombings in Volgograd that left dozens dead and injured set the nation on edge. Videos of reported terrorists warning Russian President Vladimir Putin to expect more of the same at the Olympic Games subsequently set the world on edge.
The State Department’s warning also comes as the United States has promised to put ships on standby status near Russian borders in case of attack, to evacuate American citizens.
The memo reads, The New York Post reported: “The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk.”
The uniforms that U.S. athletes will wear to the opening ceremony were unveiled by designer Ralph Lauren on Thursday. They feature a patchwork designed cardigan with huge stars, an American flag and the Olympic rings.
The company called it “a dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic color palette of red, white and navy defines the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA Opening ceremony uniform, which is proudly Made in America.”
Meanwhile, one member of the men’s halfpipe team, Greg Bretz, confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Olympic officials have also warned against wearing U.S. team gear outside of the venues. But, he said, “I have so much faith in the United States and our safety that I’m not too worried about it.”