Sport Other Sports No Sochi security fears for Aussies

No Sochi security fears for Aussies

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Chef de mission Ian Chesterman said the Australian team will head to the opening ceremony holding no fears of any security threats to the event.

Security in and around Sochi ahead of the Winter Olympics has been tight following terrorist attacks in December in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

Chesterman said Australian officials have had no specific briefing on security for the opening ceremony but he expects it will be tight.

“We will all go there and just know there has been incredible intense effort around security and we can just go and enjoy the night,” Chesterman said in Sochi on Friday afternoon (AEDT).

“I don’t think anybody who has come here (Sochi) will now go there (opening ceremony) with any fear at all.”

Of the 60 Australian competitors taking part in the Games at Sochi, Chesterman said up to 41 will march at the opening ceremony, the largest ever Australian marching group at a Winter Olympics.

For Australian snowboarder Nate Johnstone, the opportunity to march in the opening ceremony with the Australian team has been a long time coming.

Johnstone went through the heartbreak of missing the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 after fracturing his ankle two weeks before the Games.

He has worked hard to fight his way back into the Australian team and is looking forward to marching in the opening ceremony alongside his close friend Alex Pullin who has been selected as Australian flagbearer.

“At the time it was devastating,” Johnstone said.

“But moving through that I learned a lot and gained a lot of experience and motivation leading into the next season.

“Now to actually be here is so exciting. I’m looking forward to the opening ceremony tonight and walking with one of my best friends Chumpy (Pullin).”

Aerial skier Dave Morris said he is looking forward to taking part in the opening ceremony, but several members of the aerial team will miss it and are yet to arrive in Sochi for their competition beginning on February 13.

“I really wanted to go to the opening ceremony because we all work so hard to get here,” Morris said.

“So to have your moment here is something I am looking forward to before settling down ahead of competition.”

The Australian team will be the second nation to walk into the arena after the opening ceremony begins at 3:00am (AEDT) Saturday morning.