Obama skipping Olympics eases security concerns - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Obama skipping Olympics eases security concerns

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A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer stands outside Pacific Coliseum. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer stands outside Pacific Coliseum. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Organizers say that President Barack Obama's decision not to attend the Winter Olympics has eased some of their security concerns.

That doesn't mean the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is loosening its guard.

Assistant commissioner Bud Mercer said Wednesday that up to 40 foreign dignitaries needing special protection have confirmed they will attend the Olympics. They're part of an estimated 5,500 athletes and coaches, 11,000 media and 350,000 visitors expected in Vancouver.

Mercer said "it would have made things more complex" had Obama decided to attend the Olympics, "but we would have done it."

Already, streets have been closed, helicopters patrol the skies and security perimeters have been established around 80 sport and non-sport venues.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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