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U.S. Olympic Athletes Warned Against Wearing Uniforms

Image Source:Ralph Lauren

The U.S. is urging American athletes not to wear their official team gear outside of Olympic venues while in Sochi.

by Elizabeth Hagedorn

With the Olympics just two weeks away, the U.S. is warning its athletes — don’t advertise your nationality while in Sochi.

According to a U.S. Olympic Committee memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. is urging American athletes not to wear their official team gear outside of Sochi’s venues, since doing otherwise could put their "personal safety at greater risk."

But State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said this sort of precaution is not unique to Sochi. “We generally give this sort of guidance around international events, particularly if there is some kind of threat like we see here.”

Still, with threats growing by the day, the Obama administration has signaled its concerns with security in Sochi. 

Islamic militants recently released this video, claiming responsibility for recent suicide bombings in Russia and vowing attacks on the games. (Via Euronews)  

Russian security forces are now searching for as many as five suspected terrorists believed to be planning an attack on the games. (Via NBC)

Earlier this week, the U.S. Olympic team, along with five other delegations, reported having received terrorist threats ahead of Sochi. (Via Businessweek

Russian authorites say they've taken all the necessary steps to ensure safety at the games, including building a so-called “ring of steel” manned by some 40,000 Russian police officers. (Via CBS

But will it be enough to protect the 500 U.S. athletes and their coaches, along with about 10,000 American spectators scheduled to attend?

U.S. officials are preparing for the worst. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday the U.S. is prepared to evacuate Americans if needed.

"If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do this.” (Via U.S. Department of Defense

The Pentagon has deployed two warships to the Black Sea as a precaution, and the State Department issued a warning to all U.S. citizens traveling to Sochi, advising them of the potential threats.