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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Israeli skeleton slider AJ Edelman not allowed to wear helmet with Samson art

Olympics PyeongChang

Anyone who has watched practice runs of skeleton at the Winter Olympics this week probably had an easy time identifying A.J. Edelman, as the Israeli’s helmet features unique art depicting the biblical figure Samson. Unfortunately, we will not see that helmet when competition begins.

Edelman, who graduated from MIT with an engineering degree and has been nicknamed “The Hebrew Hammer,” said earlier in the week that the International Olympic Committee approved his helmet. He described its significance.

“The breaking of the pillars represents accomplishing the impossible dream,” Edelman said, via Nick Zaccardi of NBCOlympics.com.

Since Samson is a religious figure, there was some question about whether the helmet would be allowed. Demonstrations of political and religious propaganda are strictly prohibited at the Olympics. It’s not all that surprising, then, that the IOC changed its mind at some point.

Edelman was born and raised in Boston, but he gained Israeli citizenship in 2016 after spending a summer there in 2006 and an academic year there in 2010. He is the first skeleton slider to represent Israel in the Olympics.

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