US skiers take extra Sochi security measures

US ski and snowboard teams have a private crisis response team ready to assist with evacuation from the Sochi Winter Olympics in case of emergencies, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The report said Global Rescue, a Boston-based firm that has worked with the US ski and snowboard teams since the 2006 Turin Winter Games, has up to five aircraft standing by to help evacuate Americans in case of a security or medical emergency.

"This environment is unique," Global Rescue chief executive Dan Richards told the newspaper. "You just don't have competitions in places like Sochi with any frequency... in the last 10 years there has been nothing like it."

Russian authorities provide security during the Olympics but the US government also provides security for the American delegation.

The news comes in the wake of two suicide bombings last week at transportation areas about 500 miles from Sochi and adds to security concerns over the event.

Richards said one plane could take about 200 people out of the Sochi region if needed. The company plans to assist about 375 athletes, guests and staff members.

And Lindsey Vonn's decision Tuesday to end her bid to compete at Sochi does not alter the security plan, a Global Rescue spokeswoman told the newspaper.

US Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones told USA Today that the group had not sought extra private security measures such as those undertaken by the ski and snowboard teams, whose members include ski star Bode Miller and snowboard icon Shaun White.

"The Russians are doing everything that can reasonably be done," Richards said.

The Sochi Winter Olympics, he said, have "got the possibility for there to be some kind of event, though we don't expect there to be. We're really there to help and act as enablers."


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