US preparing for Winter Olympics as normal, USOC chief


LOS ANGELES, Sept 23, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – The United States Olympic Committee said it has faith in the organizers of the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics to put on a successful event despite growing security fears on the Korean peninsula.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said Friday they have confidence in the job the Pyeongchang officials are doing and preparations are moving ahead as planned.

“The United States Olympic Committee is very much looking forward to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and will participate in the upcoming lighting of the Olympic Flame in Olympia to celebrate the approaching Games,” said Blackmun.

“Our preparations continue in earnest and, as with all Games, we will continue to work with our state department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.

“We are confident in the Pyeongchang organizing committee’s ability to deliver a great Games, and our hope is that the focus will be on our athletes.”

On Friday, Austria, Germany and France raised the spectre of staying away from the 2018 Games if security concerns worsened amid fears over a nuclear- armed North Korea.

The fears comes amid a escalating war of words between American President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The exclusion of Austria and France, and others that could decide not to allow their athletes to go, would be a devastating blow to South Korea’s Winter Games.