Dear Mr. O'Hara,
I am Siri Bohacek, a junior from the Stillwater Area High School Nordic Ski Team. I have been on the Stillwater Nordic Ski Team team since 7th grade and I greatly appreciate all the work you and your colleagues have do to make Minnesota high school skiing such a great experience , and I feel exceptionally lucky to be part of it.
In past years at the State Meet, we have been prohibited from wearing glitter on our faces at the State Meet. On behalf of the athletes, coaches and alumni of Minnesota High School League Nordic Racing (specific individuals indicated below), we are requesting that you revoke the rule that does not allow racers to wear glitter at the state meet.
Wearing glitter and big races is a tradition that was started by Jessie Diggins, a former MN high school state champion, World Champion, Olympian, and US Ski Team member. Jessie is a proud supporter of her glitter (http://jessiediggins.com/for-the-love-of-glitter/). She still wears glitter at all her races to remind herself that she loves what she does and how lucky she is to get to do it. It reminds her to push her hardest no matter what, and it reminds her to have fun. Jessie began wearing glitter in high school with her teammates (but not at the state meet, because it was not allowed), and since then it has become a tradition for teams not only state wide, but across the nation and even worldwide (most international teams wear glitter and face paint at special World Cup events).
Members of the US Ski Team wear glitter during races. Racers at a World Championship and Olympic levels are allowed to don sparkles before their relays, but at our state meet we are not.
Since many teams on the World Cup Circuit wear glitter, it is obviously allowed by FIS. I also looked in the NCAA rule book and could not find any place where glitter or face paint is prohibited. The glitter is applied with Vaseline or Chapstick and is completely safe for the wearer, as well as any other competitor. It is not disrespectful or distracting.
As a team these sparkles remind each and every athlete that they are a part of something bigger. When they race, they are racing for their team (high school, state, or country) as well as their individual results, and they have a duty to give it everything they have. The glitter reminds them that no matter their result for the day, they will have teammates, parents, and coaches that will continue to support them. The glitter reminds them how incredibly lucky they are to be able to ski, to race and to train. The glitter has no negative aspect. All athletes, regardless of ability level, can sport the stripes of sparkles to support their team, even if they are not on the race course. The glitter sends a positive message that transcends team rivalries; almost every team in the state participates. It is about making the wearer feel good, no making others feel bad.
We are proud to represent our sport; we are proud to have role models like Jessie Diggins and Annie Hart, who work so hard and race joyfully and cleanly. We would like your support in allowing us to show that pride by wearing glitter the MN State Meet.
Finally, we thank you very much for your work in keeping the Minnesota High School Nordic program in the state strong; it is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. We truly hope that you will consider revoking the rule against glitter.
As the state meet is fast approaching, we would appreciate a response as soon as possible.
Sincerely, Siri Bohacek (Stillwater High School)