Winter Olympic Games 2014: Slovenia and Italy Receive Terrorist Threats

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2014

AP Images

The organisers of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi are on alert after the Slovenian and Italian team committees each received threats of terrorism, as reported by Reuters via Yahoo! Sports.

Slovenian spokesman Brane Dmitrovic revealed: "The committee has received a terrorist threat letter written in Russian. We've had it translated and have forwarded it to the police." 

This is not the first threat of terrorism that has occurred as the Games approach.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee has also received warning, and it has acknowledged that other nations are experiencing similar security issues.

ABC's foreign editor, Jon Williams, reports:

This chain of threats will cause great concern as the Games begin. With Russia having the privilege of hosting a World Cup final in 2018, they will hope that a major event on their home soil is not touched by the hand of terrorism and fear. 

The U.S. security services are formulating a response plan in case the Winter Olympics are hit by militant terror attacks, reports Reuters via The Guardian.

It is reported that America has major concerns about mounting any such operation, with Russia traditionally not open to cooperating with them and reluctant to allow foreign military forces on their soil. 

Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press

The U.S. plans were revealed after a Chechen extremist website posted a video alluding to suicide bombings at the Games, per The Guardian.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin defiantly said: "We have adequate needs available to us through the federal security service, the interior ministry, armed forces units that will be involved in providing security on the water and in the air."

Putin has staked his reputation on the Games, attempting to show that Russia is still a major force in the sporting and political arenas. 

The Sochi organising committee has been quick to downplay the threat of terrorism, labeling the letters sent to the Hungarian team as "not real." Since then, Italy has also reportedly received similar threats.

Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) International Relations Director Zsigmond Nagy told Reuters, via Fox News: "Both the IOC and the Sochi organizing committee... officially declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real, and this person has been sending all kinds of messages to many members of the Olympic family."

However, HOC secretary general Bence Szabo said of the threat, per Marton Dunai of the Daily Mail"They also told us we had better stay home... Obviously the HOC will not make the decision on how seriously to take the threat or, God forbid, to stay away from the Olympics."

The Winter Olympics in Sochi begin on February 7.