Torah Bright, an Australian snowboarder, was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from wearing a memorial sticker of her friend’s name on her helmet during competition. The sticker was worn to honor Canadian skier, Sarah Burke, who died while training back in 2012. According to the IOC spokesperson Mark Adams, the Olympics is an inappropriate place to mourn, as it is an event where people celebrate. The IOC has also instructed all athletes to do away with any type of memorial for their lost competitors and comrades.
Burke died 9 days after an accident, due to injuries resulting from a crash that happened on a halfpipe while training in Utah. She was a forerunner in freestyle skiing and is one of the reasons why the sport is now part of the Winter Olympics Games.
Bright and Burke were good friends and as a sign of protest to the IOC, Bright posted an image on Instagram saying that she always rides with a sticker on her helmet and snowboard. Sarah still remains an inspiration to her despite the IOC having banned athletes wearing the memorial sticker.
Although the IOC has permitted the Olympians to wear a memorial tape on the bootstraps with Burke’s name, they have decided that wearing a sticker on the helmet was too noticeable and deemed it as a political statement.
Through the years, the IOC have always banned the display of political messages during the Olympics. However, the public may not have the same sentiment when it comes to memorials for lost athletes.
Apart from the said incident, the IOC also warned the Norwegian Olympic Committee about the armbands that 4 Norwegian girls wore during the 15-kilometer skiathlon as a tribute to cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen’ brother, who unexpectedly died on the eve of the Olympics opening ceremonies.
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