Team USA hockey goalies can keep Statue of Liberty on helmets at Olympics, despite reports

Team USA hockey players have been cleared to display their American pride at the 2018 Winter Olympics after it was reported that images of the Statue of Liberty on their helmets were deemed political statements.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was working with USA Hockey to determine whether the patriotic symbols on the helmets of goaltenders Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby would need to be removed, USA Today reported Monday night.

The committee had previously said the images needed to be removed from the safety equipment, as America’s Lady Liberty could be viewed as “political propaganda.”

Ice Hockey – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women's Training - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea – February 10, 2018 - Team USA goaltenders Madeline Rooney, Alex Rigsby, Nicole Hensley. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon - HP1EE2A0A4Q3K

Team USA goaltenders Madeline Rooney, Alex Rigsby, Nicole Hensley train at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, South Korea on February 10, 2018.  (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

But the IOC quickly changed its tune, allowing the goalies to wear the masks as they are.

“Masks are approved,” USA Hockey spokeswoman Andrea Mazzarelli told Reuters. “No modifications needed.”

A spokesperson for IOC disputed the reports, telling the news service the situation “seems to have been a misunderstanding, we have not asked for the symbol to be removed.”

U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick takes part in his team's ice hockey practice at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 15, 2010.     REUTERS/Shaun Best (CANADA) - LR2E62G08B89W

Team USA goalie Jonathan Quick, who competed in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games was ordered to cover up “Support Our Troops” displayed on his helmet.  (REUTERS/Shaun Best )

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states: “No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment whatsoever worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games.”

It’s not uncommon for the IOC to order athletes to remove sayings from their gear.

Earlier this month, Canadian hockey player Matt Dalton, who’s playing for South Korea in the Games, was asked to remove a tribute to 16-century Korean naval commander Yi sun-shin, as the IOC found it too political, the National Post reported.

USA goaltender Jessie Vetter watches the puck during a women's ice hockey team practice at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (RUSSIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS ICE HOCKEY) - GM1EA2J1PI301

In 2014, Team USA goalie Jessie Vetter was ordered to remove “We the People” — the U.S. Constitution’s first three words — from her helmet.  (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

In 2014, Team USA goalie Jessie Vetter was ordered to remove “We the People” — the U.S. Constitution’s first three words — from her helmet, which also had a photo of the Statue of Liberty, in addition to a Bald Eagle.

And in 2010, goalie Ryan Miller, of the men’s U.S. hockey team, had to remove the popular beer slogan “Miller Time” from his mask as he competed during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Jonathan Quick, also a goaltender, had to cover up “Support Our Troops” displayed on his helmet.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.