The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reprimanded the Norwegian women’s cross-country ski team for wearing black armbands during Saturday’s 15-kilometer race. They were showing sympathy for a fellow skier, who’d suffered a death in her family the day before, but the IOC claimed that was inappropriate in an Olympic event.
Marit Bjørgen, Norway’s top-rated cross country skier, won the race, scoring Norway’s first gold medal of the games, while fellow Norwegian Heidi Wang took bronze. Both claimed they were skiing hard for teammate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, who had received word on Friday that her brother and training partner had died. The cause of his death wasn’t reported.
The Norwegian ski team’s coach said he realized the women were “taking a risk” when they opted to wear the armbands as an expression of their sorrow, but decided to take it, in a show of solidarity and support for their teammate.
Jacobsen, meanwhile, has decided to go ahead and take part in Tuesday’s sprint at the Olympics in Sochi despite being in mourning. Petter Northug, Norway’s champion skier, called Jacobsen “incredible strong,” adding that her brother’s untimely death had affected the entire Norwegian ski team. He performed relatively poorly himself on Sunday, finishing 17th in the men’s 30-kilometer race.