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IOC calms Olympic concern amid North Korea tension

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — With France’s sports minister raising questions about security, the IOC is trying to calm concern about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has been in close contact with the United Nations and the “heads of government concerned.”

IOC President Thomas Bach met with China President Xi Jinping in Tianjin last month and with South Korea President Moon Jae-in at the U.N. in New York.

“In none of the discussions, has anybody expressed any doubt” about the Winter Games, the IOC said in a statement.

Tensions fueled by North Korea’s missile testing rose this week after U.S. President Donald Trump used his U.N. General Assembly speech to threaten the country’s destruction. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described Trump as “deranged.”

France’s sports minister, Laura Flessel, suggested on Thursday its team could stay home if its security could not be assured in South Korea.

“Athletes’ safety and security are of course a primary concern for the IOC,” the Olympic body said.

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said “we will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.” He added that the USOC is confident South Korean organizers would deliver a “great Games.”

Olympic officials in winter sports hubs like Austria, Denmark and Sweden said Friday it was too early to doubt participation in PyeongChang, where the games open Feb. 9.

“We feel safe,” Peter Reinebo of Sweden’s Olympic Committee said, adding that a decision to stay away would require an “international decision from the United Nations and a strong warning from Swedish authorities.”

“But such things do not exist today. We are completely focused on going and taking part,” Reinebo said.

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MORE: South Korea president calls for North Korea at PyeongChang Olympics

Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms have heaters

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The U.S. Olympic team uniforms for the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony contain heating components that will last up to 11 hours.

Ice dancers Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and bobsledder Aja Evans wore the uniforms on TODAY on Monday.

The heat technology will come in handy.

The PyeongChang Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 (live streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app) will be in an outdoor stadium, likely in below-freezing temperatures.

From USA Today:

“The athletes can set the temperature (there are three settings) via their cellphones. The heat can last up to five hours on the high setting and 11 hours on the low setting, fully charged.”

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

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Jamaica misses Olympic men’s bobsled by one spot

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The only Jamaican bobsled team in PyeongChang will be its women’s bobsled team.

Jamaica missed qualifying a two-man bobsled team for the Olympics by one spot in rankings finalized last week.

Jamaica still had a chance to sneak into the 30-sled Olympic field if one of the qualified nations declined a spot, but that didn’t happen.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation made it official Monday, publishing the Olympic fields for each event.

At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014.

Sochi driver Winston Watts retired, but a new team was formed in this Olympic cycle that included former Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals running back Michael Blair.

New driver Seldwyn Morgan competed on the lower-level North American Cup the last three seasons with a top finish of seventh.

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MORE: Would Usain Bolt make a good bobsledder?