(ATR) A top security official for the Sochi Olympics insists there is no security risk to the Games.
Alexey Lavrishev, the head of office for the security command center for Sochi 2014, told reporters on Thursday: "As of today, there are no real and actual threats and nemeses to the athletes and spectators during the Games."
He repeated this security assessment multiple times during the news conference at the Main Press Center.
Lavrishev said organisers had "provided all measures" for security. "These measures will enable us to provide full security. We have prepared total security in common areas. The headquarters works around the clock," he said.
Security during the Games would extend throughout the entire Russian Federation, he assured reporters, with some 40,000 security personnel deployed for the Games.
He said the command center’s foreign partners also signed off on the total security guarantee.
"We have analyzed all the potential threats. We are ready to react to any situation. We will prevent any hostile acts against our guests," he vowed.
Security concerns have dominated the build-up to Sochi 2014 in recent weeks following the terror attack at the Volgograd train station, which is several hundred kilometers away from Sochi. Islamic terrorists from the Russian Dagestan republic were linked to the attack. Other Islamist groups have also warned they will strike during the Sochi Olympics, and that potential bombers have already entered the Black Sea resort.
"This republic is in the northern caucuses and is quite far away," Lavrishev said. "The situation in Dagestan is under control. The situation in Sochi is under control. I have no available data that there are any suicide bombers that have infiltrated Sochi."
Lavrishev suggested the media reports of heightened security concerns were "triggered by negative forces".
Anton Gusev, an official with the police, also spoke at the press conference. He said at peak times during the Games, spectators will likely have to wait in security lines of "no more than 15 minutes" when attempting to board trains.
"Our crews are ready for that," he said. "After the opening ceremony we will see the picture without major queues.
Hesaid many applications for demonstrations in the designated protest zones and some have already been approved. Gusev said one demonstration that was approved relates to the ongoing civil unrest in Ukraine.
Three Biathletes Fail Drug Tests
A leading Russian biathlete is one of three biathletes to be provisionally suspended by the International Biathlon Union for failing drug tests.
Russian sports website Championat.com reported Wednesday that Irina Starykh, 26, failed a drug test. She is ranked sixth in the world.
The report also named 2008 world champion Ekaterina Iourieva as having failed a test. The 30-year-old Russian was not selected for Sochi, and was banned in 2009 for a drug-related offense.
There was no word on the nature of any banned substance discovered in the alleged tests on Starykh and Iourieva, nor when the samples were supposedly taken. A Lithuanian biathlete is said to be the third competitor who was suspended.
A statement from the IBU did not name the athletes. Nicole Resch, IBU secretary general would only say "this case is now being dealt with in a disciplinary process before the IBU Anti-Doping Hearing Panel according to the IBU Anti-Doping Rules in accordance with the WADA Code."
Skier Unable to Move After Accident
Brazilian aerials skier Lais Souza is in intensive care and unable to move her limbs after a crash during a training run in Park City, Utah.
According to a statement released by the University of Utah Healthcare system, she suffered a severe cervical spinal cord injury and underwent surgery to realign and stabilize her spinal column on Wednesday.
"Lais has a long recovery ahead of her," said Team Brazil physician Anotonio Marttos. "At this point, we cannot predict her long-term prognosis."
She was hoping to become the first Olympian in gymnastics to compete in the Winter Olympics.
A press conference with an update on her condition is scheduled for early afternoon on Thursday at the University of Utah Hospital where she is receiving treatment.
Written by Ed Hula III in Sochi.
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