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SOCHI, Russia — The head of the International Olympic Committee said the 3,000 athletes in Sochi feel “very comfortable” with security as the games begin.

Thomas Bach, the IOC president, laughed at a suggestion from a reporter Friday that these games were the first to be the subject of specific threats. Islamist militants in the nearby Caucasus region have vowed to attack Sochi.

“We had threats in Athens, Sydney, maybe, you remember, Salt Lake City,” he said at a press conference. “There were many! So you cannot single out these games for that.”

He added: “If you speak with the athletes at the Olympic village, they all feel very comfortable, and I am sure this atmosphere will spill over into the games.”

Russia has constructed a so-called “ring of steel,” fortified by 40,000 security forces, to protect the 1,500 square miles around Sochi -- and has vowed that the games will be the safest in history.