Ancient runic Symbol Tyr, originally having no connection to Nazism and embedded on the country’s new Olympic uniform, has made a splash in a wrong direction: as media have recalled that it was once appropriated by Hitler and is now being used by local extremists, the team now faces problems.
The Norwegian Alpine skiing team has been giving up sweaters” Attacking Viking”, designed for the Olympic season, with runic pattern because of media-spread allusions of the used symbol and Nazism. Kristin Lysdahl, who will represent Norway’s downhill team in the Olympic Games in South Korea, has said that “none of us use it in front of reporters.” Jonathan Nordbotten, a member of the men’s World Cup team who will also be competing in Pyeongchang, has also confirmed that “no one on our team uses that sweater anymore.”
The manufacturer Dale of Norway chose for the Olympic season collection “the Attacking Viking” the rune Tyr as homage to team’s nickname and the Scandinavian heritage. In essence, it is an ancient Nordic symbol associated with the god of victory and isn’t considered to be Nazis’ copyright in the country. But like many runic emblems, it was appropriated in Hitler’s Germany for leadership schools of the Third Reich. Later Tyr was put onto banners by a far-right organization in Scandinavia, Nordic Resistance Movement, viewed by the local police as a violent extreme group and potential public threat. This branded the symbol with a bad fame when the photos of athletes wearing the uniform went online.
However, the Norwegian Ski Federation has left the right to decide whether to wear the design to each athlete individually. The athletes could switch to a neutral “Olympic passion” collection, designed for the country’s Olympic Team.
The manufacturer has rejected any connection to the far right movement and hasn’t removed the sweaters from the line, although they expressed disappointment for such a coincidence.
Nevertheless, fear that people, who could be viewed as far-right activists, can appear in their rallies wearing the Olympic jumpers made one of the country’s major wholesalers to exclude the sweaters from purchasing.
The decision has reportedly induced especially flaring criticism among neo-pagans, Viking re-enactors and fans of the national ski team for “giving up” the collective ownership of ancestral symbols to a tiny, unrepresentative minority.