U.S. women’s hockey goalie Jessie Vetter had an awesome concept for her 2014 Sochi Olympics mask: Using actual 23 karat gold in the paint – hey, she’s going for gold, right? – and adorning it was inspiring American iconography.
One of the images was of the Constitution’s famous opening line, “We The People” and some text from that historic document. But when Vetter takes the ice for Team USA next month, it won’t be found on her mask – the International Olympic Committee ruled it had to be deleted.
“[It] had to be removed because no writings of any kind to promote the country is allowed,” Slater explained in an email to InGoal. “A sort of ‘our country is better than your country” kind of thing that the IOC frowns upon. Her name had to come off because they see it as self promotion. They wanted everything to be team based. … Our original idea was ‘land of the free, home of the brave,’ and that would have had to have been removed as well.”
The IOC’s Rule 51 bans any sort of advertising, demonstration, and/or propaganda on an athlete's equipment at the Olympics. American men’s hockey goalies were hit with the regulation in the 2010 Vancouver Games, as Jonathan Quick’s “support our troops” slogan and Ryan Miller’s “Matt Man,” a tribute to his late cousin who died of leukemia, were stripped from the mask designs.
Vetter and Slater were able to keep a USA logo, the Statue of Liberty and a bald eagle on the mask, as apparently none of that is propaganda. Here's the new back to the mask.
And the side, which was maintained:
Look, the Olympics have any number of silly restrictions on freedom of expression, and the idea that the U.S. Constitution is seen as “propaganda” rather than a procedural document establishing societal and governmental rules is asinine.
It’s not like the preamble reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union and be soooo much better than you unwashed heathens across the oceans …”
But our real question here: If Jessie Vetter can’t have a few words of the Constitution on her mask, why can Team Slovakia have their ENTIRE NATIONAL ANTHEM sewn into their hockey sweaters?