USOC Leadership Not Worried About Safety in PyeongChang

(ATR) "Not a single" Olympic athlete has expressed concerns in going to South Korea, Scott Blackmun defiantly says.

(ATR) Leaders of the United States Olympic Committee say PyeongChang 2018 is "no different from other games," as safety concerns mount on the Korean Peninsula.

The USOC is holding its traditional media summit ahead of the Olympic Games in Park City, Utah this week. USOC leadership, Team USA athletes and PyeongChang 2018 officials are attending the summit.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun told the assembled journalists that "not a single" athlete has voiced concerns to him about traveling to South Korea. Tensions on the peninsula continue to grow as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leadership continue to sling insults at one another.

The latest ratcheting of tensions came earlier today as North Korean defense minister Yong Ho Ri said that recent Trump comments are interpreted as the U.S. "[declaring] war on our country." Ri added that North Korea "will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country."

"I think each Games presents a unique set of circumstances and you have to look at where you are going with risks and threats you are going to see," Blackmun said. "Candidly the reports that we are getting from PyeongChang are fairly positive for potential for crime and assault so we feel really good about this because the things we do have an ability to control are progressing very nicely."

Blackmun and USOC chair Larry Probst reiterated that conversations are ongoing with the State Department regarding travel safety. Currently there are no travel warnings in place for Americans visiting South Korea, a point emphasized by other National Olympic Committees.

Security concerns were brought back to the forefront after French Sports Minister Laura Flessel speculated that the country could skip the Games if security deteriorated. Probst said that he expects the French delegation to be in South Korea come next year.

PyeongChang 2018 Vice President Jae Youl Kim told reporters that organizers have "the support of the international community" to deliver a safe Games.

"We are doing everything we can to put measures in place to ensure a safe Games," Kim said.

PyeongChang officials told Around the Rings in June that the "most sophisticated" closed circuit television, tactical drones, facial recognition systems, and an "Anti-Terror Safety Operations Center" will be the backbone for 2018 Olympics security.

Written by Aaron Bauer

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