On Saturday, late Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke was honoured as part of National Flag of Canada Day. On the positive side, this was a lovely way to recognize the inspiring young athlete, who died in a training accident two years ago. Burke's family received the Canadian flag from the Peace Tower, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Burke "a great Canadian whose efforts have had a remarkable impact on the world of sport." Indeed, it's in large part thanks to Burke's tireless lobbying that this year's Sochi Olympics included a superpipe event. It's no wonder so many of the competing athletes wanted to acknowledge Sarah by wearing helmet stickers in her honour. On the negative side, that part of the tribute to Burke was kiboshed by the International Olympic Committee, which cited a rule against political statements. The IOC suggested there would be a better time and place to remember Burke, perhaps at a press conference or an event at the Multi-Faith Centre. But given the competitor and athlete that Burke was, this seems just plain wrong. As satisfying and well-meaning as any memorial press event, spiritual ceremony -- or even National Flag of Canada Day celebration -- might be, there would be no more fitting spot to honour Sarah Burke than right in the middle of the competitions she loved so much. It's a shame the IOC let its bureaucratic anxieties get in the way of such a perfect tribute.
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