Sarah Burke, the freestyle skier who died in a halfpipe accident in 2012, has a fan club at the Olympics among what would have been her fellow competitors. However, the International Olympic Committee has stepped in and called the stickers that they wear, bearing Sarah’s name, a political statement and have banned them, according to CBC.
This is disappointing news to Sarah’s mother, Jan Phalen. “I think all the kids are just really wanting to honor Sarah and thank her and remember her for all the work she did to get their sport into the Olympics,” said Phelan at the family’s home is Squamish, B.C.
“There’s a very good chance that skiing the halfpipe would not be in the Olympics if it weren’t for Sarah, and she did give her life to it.”
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said, “She really needs to be well remembered, I think, and absolutely, we want to help the athletes to remember her in some way and there are all sorts of things we can do. The competitions themselves, which are a place of celebration, are probably not the right place or are not the right place, in our opinion, to really do that.”
So, the IOC recommended that Sarah’s colleagues and friends honor her with a news conference or a ceremony at the multifaith center in Sochi’s Olympic Village. The stickers have to go, though.
Sarah’s friends are not all that thrilled.
“I know that she would have wanted us to keep pushing the sport and go to the Olympics and represent Canada as best as we could,” said Canada’s Mike Riddle, who was a close friend of Burke’s. “She is going to be on our minds a lot the whole time we are there.”
According to The Globe and Mail, some athletes, including Canadian freestyle skier Roz Groenewoud are considering wearing a snowflake pendant or badge, similar to a tattoo that Sarah had. That is, if they don’t ban that, as well.
Jan Phalen is headed to the Olympics this week to watch the women’s half-pipe event , which her daughter helped pioneer and fought to have included in the Olympic games. She was a favorite to win the gold this year.
“I’m very excited and very pleased this is Sarah’s legacy, and I’m very proud of my daughter. And then, on the other hand, I really wish she would have been there too.”
She is there, in the spirit of her devoted fans and friends. All those competing will undoubtedly feel her there in the spirit of the competition that she so dearly fought for.
Image via youtube