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Sochi Athletes Banned from Remembering Sarah Burke with Helmet Sticker Tribute

Sarah Burke, 2011
Sarah Burke, 2011Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterFebruary 10, 2014

Competitors at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will not be allowed to put stickers on their helmets and boards to remember Sarah Burke, the International Olympic Committee have confirmed.

Canadian freestyle skier Burke died in a training accident two years ago, but she is still remembered by some of her former rivals and friends by the subtle tribute.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams was quoted by Reuters (via Yahoo! Sport) saying the stickers were not appropriate:

For us it is a question of what is appropriate. We have huge sympathy and she (Burke) needs to be well remembered either individually or collectively. The competitions themselves are not the right place to do that and we would like to keep that separate.

Australian Torah Bright has already been warned by the IOC over the issue, and took to Instagram in frustration:

I am also here to honour my great friend Sarah Burke who left this world two years ago. I ride with a Sarah sticker on my snowboard and helmet always. The IOC however, consider Sarah stickers "a political statement" and have banned them. WOW. Sarah is a beautiful, talented, powerful women, whose spirit inspires me still. She is a big reason why skier pipe/slope are now Olympic events.

The IOC have always tried to keep political messages out of the Games, but whether the public would share the view that these personal tributes are political in nature is another question altogether.

ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 28:  Skier Keltie Hansen of Canada wears a sticker on her helmet in rememberance of Canadian skier Sarah Burke during Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on January 28, 2012 in Aspen, Colorado. Burke died January 19, 2012 from i
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Norway was also contacted over an incident at the start of the event.

As the Reuters report also notes, the brother of cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen died suddenly a day before the Games, and the team wore black armbands during the skiathlon in tribute. 

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