SOCHI, Russia – International Olympic chiefs on Monday warned athletes against wearing symbols of mourning for lost loved ones during competitions at the Sochi 2014 Games.
Freestyle skiers and snowboarders have reportedly been banned from wearing tributes on their kit to Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died after a halfpipe training accident in the United States 2012.
Norway’s female cross-country skiing team, including skiathlon Olympic champion Marit Bjoergen, wore black armbands in tribute to the brother of teammate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, who died on the eve of the Games.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC understood the motivations behind the athletes’ gestures and was prepared to help organize commemorative events.
But he said it was not appropriate to display such symbols during competition.
Asked why athletes were not being allowed to remember Burke on their helmets and kit, he said: “We would say that the competitions themselves are not the right place to do this.”
“But we want to help hold any kind of remembrance. It is not about the rule, it is a question of what is appropriate,” he added.
Norwegian media have said the IOC sent a letter to the Norwegian Olympic Committee reminding it that the cross-country skiers should not have worn black armbands.
But Adams said the issue was now closed.
“I know we sent a letter to the Norwegian Olympic Committee but that is the end of the matter.”
Canada’s Burke had been seen as a top medal contender for Sochi and her death sent shockwaves through the tightly knit freestyle skiing community.