VANCOUVER, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - Lasting monuments to the ability of sport to inspire peace will forever stand in the Host Region of the 2010 Winter Games, engraved with the names of athletes who will compete here in the spirit of friendship and respect embodied by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Installations, unveiled today in the heart of the athletes' villages in Vancouver and Whistler, are focused on telling the Games' story of peace, respect, tolerance, fair play, and inclusivity in a truly contemporary way.
The installations, known at past Games as "truce walls," consist of two pillars featuring Aboriginal artworks, one of an orca whale and the other of a raven, etched onto stainless steel panels. The pillars recreate the Vancouver 2010 medals' artwork in 3-D form and have three openings each in the shape of the medals where light can shine through. The design was chosen to create a lasting bond between the competing Olympians and Paralympians and Vancouver and Whistler.
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada and truce patron of the 2010 Winter Games, officially unveiled the installation in Vancouver this morning, along with Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, Don Lindsay, Teck Resources CEO, Nathalie Lambert, Canada's Chef de Mission for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). A replica installation was simultaneously unveiled in Whistler by honorary athletes' village mayors Anna Fraser Sproule and Alan Kristmanson.
As in past Games, athletes and officials in the villages will be invited to show their support of the Vancouver 2010 Truce resolution by signing a panel on the installation, as well as a register. The registers, four in all, will be donated to museums, including the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The athletes and dignitaries at the unveiling were among the first to sign the register.
As an inspirational legacy of the Games, the names of Olympic athletes who compete here in 2010 will be etched onto the installation, along with an explanation of the artwork and an excerpt from the Vancouver 2010 Truce Resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in October 2009.
"These installations are beautiful contemplative artworks that will inspire athletes to uphold the Olympic values of respect and friendship as they strive for excellence at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games," said President Rogge. "We encourage all athletes and officials to visit them during the Games and sign the register in support of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce resolution."
Teck Resources, an Official Supporter of the 2010 Winter Games and the metals supplier for the Vancouver 2010 medals, helped fund the installation project. More than 20 members of the company's staff are also volunteering in the athletes' villages to act as truce ambassadors during the Olympic Winter Games to encourage athletes to sign the register.
"The 2010 Winter Games will create a lasting legacy of sporting excellence. We hope that the extraordinary spirit of the Olympics will reside in the memories of all who participate in and watch the Games," said Lindsay. "Teck is honoured to be a part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Installations, a tradition that upholds and reinforces the Olympic values."
The installation at Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver is located in the athletes' plaza and looks out on False Creek. At Olympic and Paralympic Village Whistler, the installation is also located in the athletes' plaza. Upon completion of the Paralympic Winter Games, it will take up permanent residence outside the Whistler Athletes' Centre. The installation in Vancouver will also remain within the Southeast False Creek community.
"It's a wonderful idea to use the spirit of the Olympic Truce to create a monument that forever bonds athletes with the Host Region of the Games," said Lambert, a three-time Olympic medallist for Canada. "Many athletes are known as role models and for their humanitarian efforts, these installations are a way of permanently making their mark in support of a more peaceful world -- a mark that hopefully will inspire others whenever they see it."
Furlong added: "The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and these truce installations are an opportunity to show how sport can act as a real catalyst for peace among nations and people of all races, religions and creeds. What the world's athletes accomplish here in a spirit of peace and friendship will be forever captured by these installations to inspire and remind us all of what is possible when we set aside our differences in the pursuit of excellence."
The design of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Installations is a fusion between Aboriginal art created for the Vancouver 2010 medals and contemporary industrial design. The two large master artworks of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic) are by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian designer/artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage based in Vancouver, BC. VANOC's late design director Leo Obstbaum and Vancouver-based industrial designer James Lee were also involved in the design of the installations.
Each installation has two pillars -- standing 2.5 metres tall and 2.5 metres wide and 3.25 metres by 1.5 metres wide -- that relate to each other and allow interaction with the viewer through three openings in the shape of the medals.
The taller pillar features the strong black wings and proud beaked profile of the raven in a three-part composition in the style of a totem pole. The bird, species of which can be found around the globe, is often associated with transformation and healing abilities and represents determination, creativity and wisdom.
The second pillar features the orca, designed across four panels in the style of a traditional West Coast First Nations bentwood box. The sleek and powerful black and white whales are often associated with the attributes of strength, dignity and teamwork. They are common to the waters off Canada's West Coast but are also found in all the world's oceans.
The Olympic Truce
The philosophy of the Olympic Truce is simple: sport can inspire peace. In 2010, athletes will set aside their political, religious and social differences and compete on a level playing field in the pursuit of excellence. Their sportsmanship and behaviour are examples of how countries and individuals can find constructive ways to uphold the values of respect and friendship.
The 2010 Winter Games mark the first time Canada has been responsible for leading Olympic Truce efforts since the ancient tradition, dating back to 776 BC in Greece, was revitalized in 1992. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, is patron of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce Program is taking a grassroots approach through initiatives that centre on the belief that lasting peace starts at the local level. The program promotes dialogue, inclusion and mutual understanding through a number of projects, including a high-energy Youth Dialogue hosted by the Governor General of Canada. For more information, visit www.olympictruce.org.
SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: VANOC Media Relations, Tel: (604) 403-1611, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Governor General of Canada Media Relations, Marie-Eve Letourneau, Tel: (613) 998-0287, E-mail: email@example.com; Teck, Kate Best, Tel: (604) 862-2280, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org