Ralph Lauren's red, white and blue U.S. Winter Olympic team uniforms might be great for strutting the New York City catwalks, but could put your life at risk on the streets of Sochi.
As they unveiled their Olympic outfits Thursday, officials cautioned competing American athletes to keep them under wraps outside the Sochi Winter Games sports venues.
A memo sent to athletes by the U.S. Olympic Committee cautions the athletes to avoid wearing team colors too prominently in Sochi amid heightened concerns about security and terrorist threats in the southern Russian resort town, reported The Wall Street Journal.
"The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk," says the memo.
The memo, which details steps athletes can take to ensure their safety during the games, cautions them to avoid wearing team colors too prominently outside of the 1,500-mile so-called “Ring of Steel” security perimeter established by Russian security forces.
Designer Ralph Lauren unveiled the official uniforms that American athletes will wear to the Opening ceremony Thursday. The uniforms feature a red, white and blue knit patchwork cardigan emblazoned with big stars, an American flag, and the Olympic rings.
“A dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic color palette of red, white and navy defines the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA Opening ceremony uniform, which is proudly Made in America,” the company said in a statement.
Greg Bretz, a member of the men’s halfpipe team, told the Wall Street Journal that U.S. Olympic officials “have told us not to wear our USA gear outside of the venues,” but added, “I have so much faith in the United States and our safety that I’m not too worried about it.”
Concerns about safety in Sochi have prompted some Olympians to tell their loved ones to stay home, however. One of them is Canadian goaltender Mike Smith, who said he doesn’t want to expose his wife and kids to any unnecessary risk.
“They’re not gonna go. It’s not worth it,” Smith told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. “For myself, it’s about thinking if [my wife is] OK when I’m not with her. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is.”
It sounds like the U.S. State Department's advice might apply to almost any country going to Sochi.