Two Austrian athletes receive Winter Olympics kidnap threat

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 4:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 4:47am

The Austrian Olympic Committee has received an anonymous letter containing a kidnap threat against two of its team members who will be in Sochi for the Winter Olympics.

The letter, written in German, was delivered on Monday into the mailbox of its Vienna office, AOC general secretary Peter Mennel said. The athletes named were Alpine skier Marlies Schild and skeleton pilot Janine Flock.

"We have immediately alerted the Federal Criminal Agency, which is investigating the case," Mennel said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck confirmed the ongoing investigation, adding that Russian authorities had been informed and that no information would be made public if or when additional security measures were established for Schild and Flock.

The AOC said in a statement that it was "not regarding it as an acute threat at the moment".

Mennel discussed the matter with Flock on Tuesday during a flight from Vienna to Sochi.

"She is not worried - she trusts in our security measures," Mennel said, adding that Austrian athletes would be accompanied by members of a police special taskforce when they leave the Olympic Village.

Schild is scheduled to travel to Russia next week as she will only compete in the women's slalom on February 21. She won silver in slalom in Vancouver four years ago and is set to compete in her fourth Olympics.

Flock, who is set to make her first Olympic appearance, won the European skeleton title last month at a World Cup event in Koenigssee, Germany.

The kidnap threat comes less than two weeks after a string of European Olympic committees received e-mails containing hoax terrorist threats against their athletes in Sochi.