Goalies for the American Olympic women's hockey team will be able to keep the Statue of Liberty on their helmets, the International Olympic Committee now says, just a day after reportedly demanding that Maddie Rooney, Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby remove the "political figure."
Monday night, USA Today reported that the IOC had ruled against the American hockey players and that their helmets would need to be repainted before Tuesday's match against Russia.
According to Fox News and USA Today, however, the IOC reversed its decision overnight after an outcry from the American Olympic team. The Olympic governing body says that the whole thing was just a simple "misunderstanding" and that they never intended to force Team USA to repaint their helmets.
Although both sides seem to have conflicting accounts of how the decision went down, the bottom line is, “masks are approved,” according to a Team USA spokesperson.
The controversy stems from an image of the Statue of Liberty, airbrushed on to the sides of each of the Team USA women's hockey goaltenders' masks. It's only a small image, covering the upper left side of the goalies' faces, but the IOC was, apparently, adamant that Olympic team uniforms contain no "political messaging or slogans related to national identity" whatsoever.
This is not the first time the IOC has targeted goalie helmets. In the 2014 Sochi games, an Olympic ruling board forced men's Team USA goalie Jessie Vetter to remove the words, "We The People" from the back side of his helmet.
A goalie for the 2018 Canadian men's team also had to redesign his helmet, removing a tribute to his home country of South Korea.