Australian figure skater Cheltzie Lee banned from wearing good-luck charm during Winter Olympics.
 
Article by Rhys Haynes, The Herald Sun - Melbourne.
11 February, 2010
 

The International Olympic Committee has banned the 16-year-old from wearing a good-luck charm during competition - a tiny yellow bracelet she wears in memory of her friend Morgan Innes.

Morgan, 14, was one of four people who died in a ferry crash on Sydney Harbour in 2007.

Cheltzie was invited to join Morgan on the boat trip, but she decided to keep training as she chased her Olympic dream.

Bracelets and similar items are considered "sponsorship" by the IOC and banned during competition.

Last week the IOC tried to have the Boxing Kangaroo flag taken down at the Olympic village in Vancouver, claiming it was a registered trademarks and not a national flag.

Mum Renita Lee said Cheltzie was heartbroken she won't be able to wear the bracelet in Olympic competition.

"She'll just wear it when she practises. It is her way of showing how much she misses Morgan.

"The day before Morgan died they had trained together. They were such lovely friends."

Although Morgan lived in Brisbane, the girls loved competing against each other and spending time together at ice-skating camps.

Cheltzie still has text messages in her phone sent from Morgan.

"It's been hard for Cheltzie, hard for everyone who knew Morgan because she was just such a beautiful girl," Ms Lee said.

The yellow wrist band has the phrase "Have a Morgan Moment" etched into it.

Morgan's dad Robert Innes said about 2500 bracelets were handed out or sold for $3 at the NSW Figure Skating Championships.

"A friend of mine came up with the term Morgan Moment. It's something we'd love everyone to have - a moment where you just hug your kids, no matter how young or old they are.

"The wrist bands were just a way of spreading the message. All her friends wear them. It wasn't really designed to raise money."

Cheltzie will first compete in Vancouver on February 23, the same day a coroner will deliver his findings into the ferry tragedy.

Cheltzie first visited an ice rink 11 years ago on a hot summer's day, Canterbury Ice Rink as a five-year-old on a typically sweltering summer day.

"We were looking for something to do to get out of the heat, so Dad took me ice skating," Lee recalled last week.

"I loved it straight away and didn't need to hold the rail.

"It just felt natural."

Her inclusion was confirmed earlier this month after Israel declined to send its qualified skater, Tamar Katz.

After missing out on automatic qualification, Lee was prepared to wait until the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Lee, whose African-American mother was raised in Louisiana, contested the Youth Olympics in 2007, and finished in the top 20 of her her first open-age event in Vancouver last year.

She went on to the world championships where she finished 33rd as the youngest competitor in the field.

Her coach Kylie Fennell said a Michael Buble instrumental, Feeling Good, would accompany Lee's short routine, in which she needs a top-24 finish out of 30 girls to continue.

The AOC last night referred the matter to the IOC, who did not return calls.