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Team USA goalies may have to remove Statue of Liberty images from helmets

As goalies for the United States hockey team, Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby wear, it would seem, reasonably patriotic helmets, featuring a red, white and blue design complete with a depiction of the Statue of Liberty, one of America’s most iconic images.

Rather, they did wear those helmets.

Team USA goaltenders Alex Rigsby and Nicole Hensley may have to change their helmets. REUTERS

On Tuesday in PyeongChang, it was reported by USAToday that the International Olympic Committee has ruled that the keepers will have to remove the image of the statue from their helmets, citing an arbitrary rule that “No item may feature the wording or lyrics from national anthems, motivational words, public/political messaging or slogans related to national identity.”

A bit of a bizarre rule, considering the fact that, in lieu of prize money, athletes compete primarily for country pride, national identity, to listen to the lyrics of the national anthem on the podium — the very national anthem whose lyrics cannot be featured on clothing.

The decision is not yet final, as discussions between USA Hockey and the IOC are ongoing, and while the fact that it is an issue at all is sure to draw the ire of Americans, there will be little impact either way. Neither Hensley nor Rigsby saw the ice in the States’ 3-1 opening win over Finland. 

Maddie Rooney earned the starting spot, and her helmet features stars and a bald eagle.

A final decision is expected prior to the USA’s game against Russia on Tuesday.

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