US skiers sing no-yoghurt blues

SOCHI - US Olympians will have to make do without the team's official yoghurt, potentially disturbing their daily routines as they prepare for the biggest competition of their lives.

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Five thousand cups of Greek yoghurt from Team USA sponsor Chobani aren't getting to Sochi because of a customs dispute with Russia.

To travelling athletes, getting food from home is part of feeling fit and healthy at the Winter Olympics, said US halfpipe skier Aaron Blunck.

"And having the yoghurt there, that helps you, gives you protein, gives you nutrition," he said.

But teammate Lyman Currier said that part of being an elite athlete is dealing with the unexpected.

"We all have different routines before competing but I think that part of the sport is adapting," he said. "So whether we have our yoghurt or not, we'll be able to adapt."

The US Ski Team is not staying in the athletes' village in Krasnaya Polyana in the mountains above Sochi. The Americans have their own place, with their own food and private chefs.

Russian authorities say the US Department of Agriculture refused to provide a certificate that is required for dairy products under its customs rules.

"American officials know what the requirements are, and I do not understand why they stood to the side and waited until the situation reached this point," said Alexei Alexeyenko, an official at the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance.

"This question can be resolved very quickly."

US Senator Charles Schumer  implored the Russians to let the shipment through and said export trade rules should have nothing to do with it, since the yoghurt isn't for sale and is to be eaten only by US citizens in Sochi.

US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said the trade dispute went back four years and that he's been working on it ever since he arrived as ambassador in 2012.

"Unfortunately, with this particular shipment, it came to an impasse," he said. "We are still working it, we would like our athletes to be able to have the American yoghurt."

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