The International Olympic Committee ruled Tuesday that U.S. Olympic goalies Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby may keep images of the Statue of Liberty on their helmets after a brief dispute.
The IOC has a policy that prohibits the depiction of political symbols, and viewed these helmets as a possible violation of that rule, USA Today reported. The IOC rule states, “No item may feature the wording or lyrics from national anthems, motivational words, public/political messaging or slogans related to national identity.”
After a brief debate, the IOC informed the players that the helmets were acceptable prior to their game against Russia, per another USA Today report.
Hockey goaltenders have been decorating their masks ever since the 1970s, when Gerry Cheevers of the Boston Bruins famously began drawing stitches on his mask whenever it was struck by a shot.
Since then, hockey masks have become an art form, and a personal expression for the individual wearing it. They are used to compliment the team uniform and demonstrate the player’s personal values as well as the team, city, or country they represent.
The helmets of both Team USA goalies naturally feature images of the Statue of Liberty, as it is a staple of American culture and arguably the marquee symbol of our freedom.
Thankfully, you will be seeing these symbols of freedom at the Olympics.