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IOC reprimands athletes for commemorating the dead

By: Associated Press
February 10, 2014 Updated: February 10, 2014 at 8:15 am
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photo - Marit Bjørgen wins the race sporting he black armband.
Marit Bjørgen wins the race sporting he black armband. 

SOCHI, Russia — The International Olympic Committee is reprimanding athletes for wearing items commemorating the dead.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Monday the Olympic body sent a letter to the Norwegian Olympic Committee after its female cross-country skiers wore black armbands Saturday in honor of a teammate's brother, who died on the eve of the Sochi Games.

Adams did not give details of the IOC letter, saying that was "the end of the matter."

In other disciplines, the IOC banned helmet stickers in tribute to Canadian halfpipe skier Sarah Burke, who died after a crash in training two years ago. Adams said athletes should find "a better place" to express their grief.

Australian snowboarder Torah Bright said in an Instagram post on Friday that the IOC has banned competitors from wearing stickers on their gear. The IOC considered it to be a "political protest," Bright wrote.

The IOC has strict rules against protests or propaganda during competitions, outlawing any demonstrations in Olympic venues. Although a commemoration of a dead athlete can hardly be considered a political protest, the IOC's tough stance is often explained by fears that allowing someone to display non-Games-related messages on the gear would encourage others to use the games for their own gain.

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