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Statue Of Liberty Image Causes A Stir In Winter Olympics Because It's 'Too Political'

International Olympic Committee (IOC)  engaged in a discussion about an image of the Statue of Liberty on the masks of two U.S. ice hockey goaltenders. Rumors said that the IOC demanded the images be removed for being 'too political' a show for the Winter Olympics.

As it turns out, the players will be able to keep the images, and it was a misunderstanding.

The rules with the IOC are pretty strict. Athletes competing in the Olympics can't wear anything that celebrates national identity. They're banned from showing off words or lyrics from national anthems or popular political slogans, they can't use any kind of overly-patriotic messages or images.

That's why two U.S. women's ice hockey team members came under fire when they proudly displayed Lady Liberty on their helmets.

Nicole Hensley has the image placed on the left side of her mask. Alex Rigsby had it on her chin. Both goalies became a topic of discussion with the IOC, as the committee debated whether to order the women to have the image removed.

USA Today initially jumped the gun and reported that the women had gotten the orders to take the Statue likeness off their masks. IOC Media quickly tweeted back that they hadn't actually made a decision yet.

"On the Team USA hockey helmet 'story' - there seems to have been a misunderstanding, we have not asked for the symbol to be removed," read a tweet on their official Twitter feed.

It wouldn't have been an unusual case. Other Olympic athletes have had to remove political or commercial displays from their gear. Jessie Vetter, a goalie for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, had a part of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution on her mask, and it had to be removed.

Ryan Miller, a 2010 goalie, had 'Miller Time' printed on his mask, but because he adapted the slogan from a beer brand, he had to have it removed.

Jonathan Quick had the words 'Support Our Troops' on his mask, which they promptly asked him to ditch.

After consideration, the IOC decided that the Statue of Liberty doesn't violate their official rules, and they let the images stay. The decision was based on the fact that, in the past, Americans have been able to feature images of Uncle Sam on their helmets.

The call as to whether a symbol or image can be used is a subjective one. After all, most teams will use their country's flag image, and nothing can be more overtly political than that — yet the flags are allowed. Slogans, it seems, get harsher scrutiny than images.

It doesn't look like the Olympic teams are very worried about the confusion.  Hensley, who helped America defeat Russia in a 5-0 shut-out on Tuesday night, was wearing the Liberty image. She says she hasn't been really paying attention to the controversy.

“I’m not sure really what happened,” Hensley said to USA Today. “I’m just focused on playing the games. Our equipment guys take care of the equipment and we take care of what is going on on the ice.”

Rigsby said she was surprised to hear that the Statue of Liberty stamp her designer recommended was causing a controversy. “I don’t understand why,” she said. “But everything is good now. It’s cleared. It’s totally fine.”

Source: The Huffigton Post
Photo: YouTube

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