SOCHI, Russia — Australian snowboarder Torah Bright planned to wear a sticker on her helmet and snowboard at the Winter Olympics to honor Sarah Burke, the Canadian who died after an accident on the superpipe in Park City, Utah.
But the International Olympic Committee denied Bright's request based on the strict bylaws related to equipment in the Olympic charter prohibiting any "form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise" except for the name of the manufacturer.
On Feb. 7, Bright posted the following on Facebook and Instagram: "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, who's spirit inspires me still. She is a big reason why skier pipe/slope are now Olympic events."
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the organization has "huge sympathy" for friends of athletes who died performing their craft but that the organization doesn't consider it appropriate to acknowledge it within the competition.
"Absolutely we want to help the athletes to remember her in some way, so there's all sorts of things we can do," Adams said. "For example, we can help them if they want to have a press conference in various places we can organize something individually or collectively. We really feel that and think she's an important person to be remembered.
"From our side we'd say the competitions themselves, which are a place of celebration, are not the right place in our opinion to really do that and we kind of like to keep that separate but we absolutely will support any kind of remembrance the athletes want to do."