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U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team can keep Statue of Liberty goalies’ masks

Maddie Rooney might need to switch out her goalie mask. (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Is the Statue of Liberty about to get tossed from the Olympics? No, it was all a misunderstanding, according to USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer.

USA Today had reported earlier Tuesday that the U.S. women’s hockey team was mulling changes to its goalies’ masks over concerns that the colorful red, white and blue design, which features the iconic statue, violates Olympic rules that bar teams and athletes from displaying political symbols at the Winter Games. The Americans play their second game of the Olympic tournament Tuesday night (7 a.m. ET) against Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Goalie Maddie Rooney, who started the team’s opener against Finland, and the team’s two other netminders have masks featuring patriotic designs, some also including images of stars and a bald eagle.

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IOC officials had pointed out there are clear rules governing what symbols can and can’t be used in its Guidelines Regarding Authorized Identifications. Those rules allow “national colors, name, flag and emblems” that are used “to visually enhance the national identity of their Items.” But they also state: “No Item may feature the wording or lyrics from national anthems, motivational words, public/political messaging or slogans related to national identity.”

“I think there’s two elements to the rules around this one,” said Kit McConnell, the IOC sports director. “There’s the Olympic ones, which are obviously very clear about what marks and symbols can appear on training equipment . . . Those are well-known and consistent between Games. And there’s also the technical regulations of an international federation . . . The one you’ve raised I’m not specifically aware of, but the rules are well-known by [national organizing committees] and individual athletes.”

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