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IOC Covers Stefan Liv Tribute on Swedish Mask

IOC Covers Stefan Liv Tribute on Swedish Mask
Wallner Tweet Liv tribute mask

Swedish women’s hockey goaltender Valentina Wallner tweeted about her tribute mask to mentor and friend Stefan Liv back in September, but was forced by the IOC to cover up his picture during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In case anyone was wondering why Swedish goalie Valentina Wallner has a giant white patch on the right side of her mask at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it’s another case of the International Olympic Committee strictly enforcing its sometimes puzzling rules.

Wallner’s mask featured a portrait of the late national team goalie Stefan Liv, who won a gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games and became a friend and inspiration to Wallner as part of the Swedish team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics before being killed in the KHL place crash two years ago.

Wallner isn’t the only goalie to fall on the wrong side of IOC rules interpretations. American Jessie Vetter was forced to remove the opening lines from the U.S. Constitution from the back of her mask, and Finnish star Noora Räty was told to cover up her team’s battle cry from the backplate of her national team lid. Both could be interpreted as propaganda, it seems, and writing seems to be the biggest issue (American men’s goalie Jonathan Quick hasn’t had a problem with his stunning Tomb of the Unknown Soldier tribute to the U.S. military this year after being forced to remove “Support Our Troops” from his mask at the 2010 Games).

But the decision to cover up the Liv tribute doesn’t seem to fit. Liv was 30 when he died in the September 7, 2011 plane crash in Yaroslavl, Russia  that killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team during take-off. Wallner was not impressed when she talked to the Los Angeles Times:

“I knew it was not allowed to have a political message or something like that, but the portrait of a friend and an Olympic player — I think it’s a ridiculous decision. Stefan was my role model, and I loved the man and the human being he was. To me it felt very proper to honor Stefan Liv as a person, a friend and an Olympic ice hockey player with a portrait of him on my helmet. But I guess I have to abide with the rules, so I put tape over the picture.”

Wallner wasn’t the only one asked to cover up, but it sure seems like this mask should have been an exception to the rules:

Stefan Liv Tribute Tweet

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  1. joe Feeney

    THis is a ridiculous rule and ruling. The interpretation goes well beyond any logic. If the IIHF is that tight, why don’t they just tell the goalies you have no choice, just bring a plain white mask. Joe Feeney

  2. DSM

    I think what we have to remember is that in Europe, socialism is rampant. The idea that people cannot make decisions for themselves and require a body of all-knowing overseers permeates the IOC as a natural extension. In most cases, the issue is about exerting control more than making sense, so anyone searching for logic in cases like this are left wondering. Don’t worry — it means you’re normal if you feel like this.

  3. Martin Sordo

    I really and truly can say how much I hate the IOC.