USOC says all systems go for Pyeongchang

FILE PHOTO – December 16, 2014; Redwood City, CA, USA; USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun addresses the media in a press conference. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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(Reuters) – The United States Olympic Committee on Friday said it will send a full team to compete at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February despite mixed messages this week from the White House about whether the U.S. would participate.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley had said it was an “open question” as to whether the U.S. would travel to South Korea amid weapons tests by its neighbour North Korea and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters no official decision had been made before clarifying in a tweet that the “U.S. looks forward to participating.”

“I think there was just some miscommunication there rather than anything intended to be substantive,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun told reporters following a board meeting in New York.

“We are going to take a team to Pyeongchang unless it’s physically impossible or legally impossible to do that,” he said.

“We are 100 percent committed to our athletes on that.”

Blackmun said no Olympic sponsor or athlete had raised concerns about the safety of travelling to South Korea despite growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

“We are going to be bringing a team and showing up like 100 other nations,” he said.

The Pyeongchang Games will take place from Feb. 9-25.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis)
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