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Iconic Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke passed away two years ago after suffering fatal injuries while training. She was at the forefront of an effort to land slopestyle and halfpipe skiing on the Sochi Games slate.
Members of the Olympic community attempted to cast a spotlight on her memory by wearing commemorative stickers during competition. On Monday, the International Olympic Committee released a statement that isn't likely to sit well with those impacted.
“She really needs to be well remembered, I think, and absolutely, we want to help the athletes to remember her in some way and there are all sorts of things we can do,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Globe and Mail reporter Paul Waldie. “From our side we would say that the competitions themselves, which are a place of celebration, are probably not the right place to really do that and we like to keep that separate”.
The IOC stood by its initial decision to ban the use of these stickers, instead encouraging Olympians to hold a press conference in her honor, according to CBS Sports writer Mike Singer. The committee's attempts to sustain uniformity has received instant reaction.
Austrian snowboarder Torah Bright responded on Instagram.
I am also [at the Olympics] to honor by 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, considers Sarah stickers a “political statement” and have banned them. Sarah is a beautiful, talented, powerful woman whose spirit inspires me still. She is a big reason why skier pipe/slope are now Olympic events.