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Warning to U.S. athletes: No Olympic uniform outside Sochi venues

By Chelsea J. Carter and Barbara Starr, CNN
updated 7:45 PM EST, Fri January 24, 2014
Ralph Lauren has debuted the uniforms Team USA will wear during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. Here, Olympic ice hockey players Julie Chu and Zach Parise model the official uniform. American manufacturers and craftspeople reportedly have made all the uniforms. Take a look at athletes' uniforms from Games past: Ralph Lauren has debuted the uniforms Team USA will wear during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. Here, Olympic ice hockey players Julie Chu and Zach Parise model the official uniform. American manufacturers and craftspeople reportedly have made all the uniforms. Take a look at athletes' uniforms from Games past:
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U.S. Winter Olympic uniforms
2010 Olympics in Canada
2006 Olympics in Italy
2006 Olympics in Italy
2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City
1998 Olympics in Japan
1994 Olympics in Norway
1992 Olympics in France
1992 Olympics in France
1988 Olympics in Canada
1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, then in Yugoslavia
1980 Olympics in New York
1976 Olympics in Austria
1972 Olympics in Japan
1964 Olympics in Austria
1960 Olympics in California
1936 Olympics in Germany
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State Department security officials will accompany U.S. athletes to events
  • "It is to make sure we have eyes on the teams and eyes on the events," an official says
  • The U.S. team has been warned not to wear their uniforms ''far outside the Olympic venues''
  • About 10,000 U.S. citizens are expected to attend the Games, according to estimates

Washington (CNN) -- American athletes are being warned not to wear their Olympic uniforms outside of the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, where they will be under the watchful eye of U.S. security officials who will attend events with them, State Department officials said Friday.

The news about the security steps being taken to safeguard the U.S. Olympic team follow revelations this week that Russian authorities were searching for a wanted terror suspect in and around the vicinity of the upcoming Games.

It was just one of what a senior State Department official has described as an "uptick in threat reporting" in the lead-up the Olympics, scheduled for February 7-23.

"Our expectation is that we will see more in the coming weeks," the official, speaking on background, told reporters during a briefing on Olympic security measures.

Among the steps being taken is a warning to athletes, coaches and officials not wear their red-white-and-blue Olympic uniforms when away from competition.

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U.S. Olympic team uniforms 'hideous'?
The satellite image company DigitalGlobe and Google Earth have provided a look at the transformation of the location of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Look at how the area, known as the "Coastal Cluster" has been transformed for the games. Here you can see the area where the Olympic Village will be built as it it appeared in April 2005. The satellite image company DigitalGlobe and Google Earth have provided a look at the transformation of the location of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Look at how the area, known as the "Coastal Cluster" has been transformed for the games. Here you can see the area where the Olympic Village will be built as it it appeared in April 2005.
Building Sochi's Olympic village
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Photos: Building Sochi\'s Olympic village Photos: Building Sochi's Olympic village

"If you are an American Olympic athlete, you don't want to advertise that far outside the Olympic venues," another senior State Department official, speaking on background, told reporters during a briefing.

The officials confirmed the advice was provided by the security coordinator of the U.S. Olympic team, a story that was first reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, the security for individual athletes will be very tight. State Department security personnel will be accompanying athletes to every single event, every single venue.

"....It is to make sure we have eyes on the teams and eyes on the events," another senior State Department official said.

The officials did not say how many U.S. security officials would be on the ground with the U.S. Olympic team in Sochi, but the number is likely to be considerable given there are more than 230 athletes and 270 coaches and other U.S. officials.

That doesn't take into account the roughly 10,000 U.S. citizens, according to State Department estimates, who are expected to attend the Games as spectators.

Even as the State Department officials said there was "no specific Sochi Olympic evacuation plan that we are ready to just pull off," Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appeared to indicate there was a plan of some sort.

"We've had conversations with the Russian government on protection of our citizens," Hagel told reporters.

"... If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that."

Russia has not asked the United States for "any specific assistance or technology," Hagel said.

The United States is moving two warships into the Black Sea, Hagel said.

"We want to help. But right now there has been no request from the Russian government for any particular assistance."

Barbara Starr reported from Washington; Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta.

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