“Support Our Troops” slogan falls foul of Olympic rules

February 16, 2010

OLYMPICS-ICE HOCKEY/Trouble is brewing over United States ice hockey goalie Jonathan Quick and the “Support Our Troops” slogan on his helmet. Slogans of this sort are banned under Olympic rules and Quick will be told to remove it, the International Ice Hockey Federation has told Reuters.

Ryan Miller has also been told to remove the slogan “Miller Time” from his helmet while the third American netminder Tim Thomas had already placed a sticker over a slogan on his mask for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

IOC rules forbid political propoganda or advertisements being placed on equipment. “If the players don’t agree with the interpretation they can ask the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) to petition the IOC.”

Miller said he had agreed to remove “Miller Time”, which is also a popular beer company slogan, but might fight to keep “Matt Man”, a tribute to a dead friend from being taken off his helmet.

What do you think? Should athletes be allowed to carry personal or political messages on their clothing or equipment at the Olympic Games? Or is the IOC right to keep such messages out of the Games?

Comments welcome…


I think that there are people who really like to dwell on the relatively insignificant. What some one wears on their competition uniforms should be all right so long as it is not overtly vulgar and does not get personal. One has to really reach to find “Support our troops” as offensive, vulgar, political, etc. Hypersensitivity results in the expenditure of time and resources on things that really do not amount to much. As to the purity and sanctity of the Olympic movement, and the need for reverence about it, the purity and sanctity have been pretty well soiled beyond the capabilities of even the most magical stain removers. It is quite a bit about money, egos, and prostituting it for political and diplomatic reasons to achieve some unsavory goals.

Posted by Bucephalus | Report as abusive

“Support our troops is not political. The taliban and insurgents do not have teams participating in the olympics, so the comments about the russia/goergia conflict are mute.”

Its not mute at all and it is a political statement. Who issues the military their marching orders? Politicians do and that goes for all countries. Funny, it used to be that having the U.S. flag or USA on your jersey or helmet was pride enough. Apparently its not good enough any more.

Posted by Metty | Report as abusive

Well, considering that the Ancient Olympic Games were originally used in part as a showcase for the city-states of Ancient Greece to show off how good their people were at Military combat, the slogan “Support Our Troops” would be very appropriate. Many of the traditional events had clear military roots. Wars were stopped so that troops could go participate.

The hoplitodromos, or “Hoplite race” was run in full armor. Additionally, the javelin and discus throws, boxing, wrestling, pankration, boxing, running, etc, were ALL skills the city-states highly valued in their troops.

The ONLY events in the modern games that even come close to the original Spirit of the Ancient Games–showing off your Military’s prowess–are either running or shooting related. Events like the Biathlon–originally called Military Patrol, and the shooting components.

Posted by buh | Report as abusive

Daniel 1

How many people did you murder?
Sooner people like you are gone,the better.

Posted by Peacenikguy | Report as abusive

“No, I wouldn’t object to that at all. Every culture should support their warriors and consider themselves lucky that men exist willing to the dirty work that is necessary from time to time”

So you call the murder of 6 million jews a ‘work that is necessary from time to time’?

Posted by m.k | Report as abusive

support our troops –tell the IOC to kiss off

Posted by harleyc | Report as abusive

It is fair only if the Chinese Team can wear logos that say “We paid for your troops”

Posted by JustFactsGuy | Report as abusive

The Olympics used to be about competition among athletes. Now everybody wants to make a statement. It’s an embarrassment. Statements should be made on the track or the rink, not on the clothes.

Posted by Texcede | Report as abusive

Would you like
the Chinese to wear “Support our troops in Tibet”
the Iraqis to wear “Support our troops in Kuwait”
the Russians to wear “Support our troops in Georgia”
the Venezuelans to wear “Support our troops in Columbia”

If not, take that damn helmet off and put it on your pick up truck in Texas. This is the Olympics where the above countries are invited. Show your patriotism by winning medals.

Posted by bhenchot | Report as abusive

“Support Our Troops” is political? Only loony leftists are offended by this and only loony leftits could find moral equivalency between U.S. troops and the Chicoms, jihadists and Chavistas.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive

Oh! What was this athlete thinking? Doesn’t he realize that Free Speech was a B.O. era concept? (Before Obama) We are in the A.M. era now (After Marxism).

Posted by RachelC | Report as abusive

Moral equivalency is in the eyes of the beholder. One man’s troops are another man’s invaders. I support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but I don’t support imposing my view on audiences from other countries.
Only blinded zealots who don’t believe there should be another opinion don’t get this.

Posted by bhenchot | Report as abusive

What’s political about “Support our Troops”? Only to a bunch of leftist, who hate our troops, I guess.

Why do we use flags to distinguish ourselves from one another anyway? We have them when our athletes triumph over another. Aren’t they patriotic and political symbols? Then, flags should be banned as well.

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

God forbid an athlete going out on a limb and making a statement in support of his contemporaries who are competing on another world stage simultaneously 10,000 miles away would offend the very people they stand to protect.
The IOC sounds as pussyfoot as the UN in dealing with the realities of international security.
It’s not a political statement. It’s a nod of gratitude.

We are at war.

Posted by BigTman | Report as abusive

Uh, let’s see. What kind of logos did the Black September terrorist loonytoons wear back when they assassinated the Israeli Olympic athletes? I think mostly it’s fascists and leftist whippityflippits who get annoyed when free people speak freely.

Posted by Osamas_Pajamas | Report as abusive

Please, God, stop the nonsense! Don’t you lot ever get tired of left-right Dem-Rep monchromatic arguments about everything? The Olympics, like every other sports “event”, is a massively expensive, for-profit (perhaps indirectly but for-profit nonetheless) undertaking in which sponsorship money is huge, and critical, and vigourously protected.
All athletes, especially Olympic athletes, are completely aware of the rules and explicitly, personally, AGREE to abide by them. Those rules are applied to every body.
So pipe down, cheer your athletes on, celebrate the achievements of ALL these brilliant competitors, and suspend your pointlessly globalized me-me-me partisanship until after the closing ceremonies.
BTW, my jacket and my car carry Support Our Troops logos.

Posted by wetcoastace | Report as abusive

Since when is “Support the Troops” a political statement? Even our most liberal leftists pretend to support the troops. Or is it political because it’s American troops?

Posted by vegasguy | Report as abusive

bhenchot – Speaking of blind zealots: Your comment that Jonathon Quick “take that damn helmet off and put it on your pick up truck in Texas” is typical of loony leftists who continually show contempt for middle America. By the way, dufus, Quick is from Connecticut.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive


“So you call the murder of 6 million jews a ‘work that is necessary from time to time’?”

I’m sorry. That’s not what I said or implied, perhaps it’s a language barrier thing. I’ll check babelfish to see if I can translate my thoughts into your language. You speak “Raving Emotionalist Lunatic” correct ?

Posted by TinVA | Report as abusive

Right on Chiquito, BigTMan and Osamas_Pajamas and Vegasguy. Ever notice how the Anti-”Support Our Troops” types(westcoastace and bhenchot) have to say that they actually do support the troops? Leftists cannot be truthful. If it is partisanship to support our troops, then partisan I am and will remain.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive

if you want to support “your troops” then join the army, there is no place for jingoism in sports

Posted by dcrozby | Report as abusive

I wonder if he turns around and waggels the back of his helmet at the other team if they would get scared and run away from it or would the just drive through him to score the goal? Come on. Countries have religous symbols on their flags. Should we make them cover those up. Stop with the political correctness and play the games. Please don’t make me tell you the definition of games. It has nothing to do with an article of clothing. Now bring on the Medals.

Posted by mercifulexodus | Report as abusive

*uck the IOC!

Posted by BigPat | Report as abusive

Well, since the Olympics are supposed to be about promoting international peace, I suppose a slogan about “troops” is definitely not in the spirit of the Games. Too bad though ’cause I think that helmet looks super cool.

Posted by docbrody | Report as abusive

“Support Our Troops” is no more a political slogan than the flags etc. that adorn sanctioned Olympic wear. Where is the line?

Jesse Owens’s skin color was a telling “political statement” at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin as was that of the German atheletes who were supposed to epitomize Aryan supremacy.

Posted by LABill | Report as abusive

Haven’t we seen all kinds of statements suring the pas few games, concerning the IOC’s efforts to be “green”? You would have to live in a cave to think those are’nt as political as “support our troops”. Either way, it just ain’t that big a deal.

Posted by Jrandolph | Report as abusive

dcrozby – Jingoism? You military hating loony leftists are so predictable. Anyone who supports the troops, especially U.S. troops is: jingoistic, militaristic, imperialist, islamophobic, etc. Get a better thesaurus.
I heard those jingoistic Canadians cheering wildly when of their athletes competed. Perhaps we should ban cheering as well. That would please the loony leftists as they are all cheerless and humorless anyway.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive

It is so easy to read all these post and tell who have served in the military. I have a daughter and a son-in-law that have been to Iraq twice and are preparing to go again, and I am sorry if this ruffles panties…..but without OUR men and women these games would not be possible.

Posted by ProudUSAMother | Report as abusive

The words “Support Our Troops” beneath the United States Flag is redundant.
Such has been since 1814, when Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner. Thus, the United States Flag has poetically represented not only support for the United States Military, but the pride, honor, triumph and bravery that is inextricably connected therewith. This, no one can forbid. United States’ gold medalists shall stand high on the podium — Old Glory raised overhead. The song shall be played and Key’s words sung by teary-eyed victors. And all who see and hear shall know its worth.
The Flag and its song are enough.

Posted by MikeU | Report as abusive

I’m a staunch conservative however I can see why the IOC might ban such slogans.
If the athletes from the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany had slogans like this then we probably would have boycotted.

Posted by h4b1t | Report as abusive

Consider the fact- The ancient Olympic games were all completed while nude.

Maybe the IOC should revert back to this simple tradition where all competitors wear nothing but boxers or briefs and bikinis in the colors of their country’s flag.

Posted by Mark1236 | Report as abusive

To say “Support our Troops” just doesn’t mean when they are engaged in warfare and hostilities. How about all the troops from ALL nations presently on station in Haiti working very hard to provide aid and comfort to those Haitians who have lost everything and have nothing at all. They are working 24 hours a day,7 days a week to get food, water, medical care, shelters, sanitation and everything else into the hands of those devastated people, things that we take for granted.

To the I.O.C., get real and get your heads out of your butts.

Posted by Borat | Report as abusive

The Olympics are so far from the original concept that the Greeks had what does it even matter. Men’s sports, women’s sports, weight classes, pro athletes, corporate sponsorships have turned me off to the Olympics. If a Hockey Player wants to wear a decal supporting the troops that are protecting the world from Islamic murderers the IOC should leave it alone. The IOC is a bunch of jackasses anyway.

Posted by SEAL76 | Report as abusive

MARK1236 – I disagree. Only the female competitors (who pass inspection(by me)) should be nude.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive

What if Iran wanted the slogan “God is Great”? Or if France had “We Love Crepes”? Or if China had “Sell US Treasuries”?


Posted by CaseyV | Report as abusive


The Olympics is the symbol of peace the troops are fighting for. So be thankful to the troops they can still play sports!

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

The statement “support our troops” on his helmet means one thing. Support of the AMERICAN troops. Please tell me how in an international forum that is not a political statement in favor of the American troops. Yes as an American I support them because they fight to protect me, but unless the statement said, “support all armed forces no matter whom or what they fight for” then it is politically charged in the sense of international politics. Stop thinking that politics is just left vs right.

Posted by UVA_DC | Report as abusive

CASEYV – here we go again. “Support The Troops” is morally equivalent to Iran,Chicom and France. The France inclusion is particularly insulting.

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive


You said, ‘If you want to allow “pro-American” slogans, then you should also want to allow “anti-American” slogans.

Maybe athletes from other countries can have -No blood for oil- or -USA out of Iraq- on their uniforms?’


Can’t other countries say ‘support our troops’ also? You mean the US only has troops keeping peace? Don’t they have soldiers patrolling the world to keep peace as well?

Aren’t you anti-american, anti-canadian when you compete against america or canada? Aren’t you pro-american if you compete for the flag of america?

Isn’t this whole Olympiad is to bring pride to one’s own country. You mean we all should be ashamed that our athletes are patriots as well?

Yeah, I would allow for free speech in this so touchy-touchy group called the olympiad. Something that tyrannically controlled countries who are even allowed to participate in the Olympiad would not allow their athletes to have even in the quietness of their homes!

I would rather have someone tatoo in his arm “Death to America” and step into the ring and get his head bashed in fair and square!

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

You Americans need to break out of your xenophobic shells for a minute and recall that these are INTERNATIONAL games, that they are managed by the IOC and participants are required to follow the rules. That in fact America is an invited guest and as such should respect the wishes of the host nation and the IOC in general. In particular, DEADWOOD needs to brush up on their understanding of who and how game security is being provided – the US involvement does not extend beyond the Canadian border – and perhaps they should read up on the luge track, which is over two years old and has been used at World Cup championships without issue. It is analogous to blame the track for that tragic death as it is to blame a hill for each time an alpine skier has a bad fall.

Posted by Tellen | Report as abusive

Sorry guys but this is a no-brainer. Non-offensive and/or non commercial personal messages should be ok as long as they are not too conspicuous. I’m thinking something like “hi mom!”

Anything that is even REMOTELY political ESPECIALLY anything involving any war MUST be banned. The whole point of the games is as a sign of unity amongst all people. Things like “support our troops” can NOT be allowed without disrupting the whole point of the games.

Posted by joebakhos | Report as abusive


You do not understand. “Support the Troops” is NOT a political statement. It is a patriotic statement similar to waving ones own flag with pride which seem to be allowed in these games.

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

Perhaps the athletes should be wearing uniforms designed by the IOC only.

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

Iran has a team in these Games. How would you feel if their athlete came out wearing a logo saying, “Death to all Jews?”

These logos, no matter what they say have no place in the Olympics.

Posted by MichaelL | Report as abusive

Tellen – What is xenophobic about “Support Our Troops”?
You seem to be xenophobic toward America.
Where are you from Tellen?

Posted by DANROMAN | Report as abusive

I wonder if anyone opposed to this display is equally opposed to the displays of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 68. The Olympics have NEVER been apolitical, if you believe they are, or ever were, just bury your head in the sand and continue speaking through the only orifice you have exposed to the world.

Posted by scsucrs | Report as abusive

Well, “Support our Troops” is not the same as “Nuke their ass and take their gas”

Posted by robwhite2003 | Report as abusive

Our troops fighting all over the world make the olympic games a reality. Like it or not. Who’s gonna keep us safe? The French army? What’s that?

Posted by bob420 | Report as abusive


How does “Support our Troops” even equate to “Death to all Jews”? In what world is this even morally equivalent?

Posted by Chiquito | Report as abusive

I believe that the follwing description of the Olymic movement is important to consider when thinking about this news story:

The Olympic Movement is a philosophy created and promoted by the International Olympic Committee. This philosophy advocates using sport not just as a physical activity but also as a means of educating people.

According to this philosophy, the good sportsmanship, sense of fair play, and respect for fellow athletes that is developed through participation in sports teaches men and women of different races, religions, and nationalities to work peacefully together in competition toward common goals. The Olympic Movement works to expand such lessons beyond the sports arena in the hope of promoting peace and a sense of brotherhood throughout the world.

The Olympic arena has never been seen as the place to make political statemnts; especially not those supporting any acts of violence.

Posted by Verbatim | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/