The State Department has warned American athletes not to wear their patriotic-themed uniforms outside of Sochi venues during the Winter Olympics, and it's not out of concern for their fashion sense.
Heightened security concerns in Russia mean that the State Department is warning athletes not to wear their Team USA gear outside the so-called "Ring of Steel," the 1,500-square-mile secured area in which the Winter Games will take place.
"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," reads the State Department memo, which was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
The Opening Ceremony uniforms were unveiled Thursday to great pomp and circumstance. Created by Ralph Lauren, the uniforms are entirely domestically made, and it's difficult to imagine how they could scream AMERICA any louder.
Security is a persistent concern, so much so that some athletes are taking significnat precautions. Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, who will play for Canada, will not be taking his family. “They’re not gonna go. It’s not worth it,” he told Fox Sports. “For myself, it’s about thinking if [my wife is] OK when I’m not with her. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is.”
Earlier this month, the State Department issued a warning to all Americans traveling to Sochi, which poses "an attractive target" to terrorists. “There is no indication of a specific threat to U.S. institutions or citizens, but U.S. citizens should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices,” the department said in a statement. “U.S. citizens are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation.”