The US State Department is warning American Olympic athletes not to wear their team uniforms or colors outside of official sports venues.
A number of online sources are joking that this is because the uniforms are so ugly. While we admit the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA opening ceremony uniforms are a tad unusual, we don't think they're ugly. And they're certainly not hideous enough to merit a State Department warning.
The warning really concerns terrorism, of course. Circassian nationalists and Chechen separatists have promised violence; and supposedly, Saudi intelligence threatened to sponsor terrorist activity at the games unless Russia supported a Syria deal. Multiple bombings killed 34 people last month in Volgograd, about 400 miles from Sochi. An Islamic militant group in Russia's North Caucasus claimed responsibility for the bombings, and posted a video threatening to strike the Sochi games.
And although Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has cracked down on free speech and free assembly in Sochi, and sent over 40,000 law enforcement to the area, international observers are not convinced it's enough. Putin has blown $51 billion-with-a-"b" on this fiasco, and a repeat of 1972 or 1996 is not what the Kremlin is looking for.
According to FOX News, goaltender Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes, a member of the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team, refused to bring his wife and children to Sochi, citing safety concerns.
Two American warships will be posted in the Black Sea during the games.