VANCOUVER-Ilanaaq, an ancient Inuit word for “friendship,” will be the official emblem of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, welcoming the world to the games with open arms.
The winning entry was among 1600 entries submitted from across Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Emblem Design Competition. In the end, Ilanaaq was chosen by a panel of nine international judges for its simple style and profound meaning. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved the design and it has been registered internationally.
Ilanaaq was intended to be a stylized interpretation of the Inuit stone sculpture called “Inukshuk.” It symbolizes hospitality and safety. The colors of the design—blue, green, red, and gold—represent Canada’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes: forests, mountains, islands, the iconic maple leaf and brilliant sunlight. It also represents friendship, strength, teamwork and the vast Canadian landscape.
Manager of the Image and Identity Department, Theodora Mantzaris, said of the design, “it is very, very simple which is why we’re drawn to it. It stops you.”
René Fasel, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, said, “Ilanaaq is rooted in Canada's history. It reflects the spirit, diversity and values of Canada. It reflects the rich colors of your land and your seasons. Well done, Canada!"
The design was met with a mostly positive reception at its unveiling ceremony Saturday night in Vancouver, but some B.C. Native community leaders were less than pleased that Ilanaaq did not incorporate more influence from B.C.’s First Nations. Some were left wondering why a design featuring the traditional Inukshuk was not designed by a First Nations artist, or why an Inuit symbol was chosen over one more representative of British Columbia.
"The First Nations community at large is disappointed with the selection. The decision makers have decided not to reflect the First Nations and the Pacific region in the design of the logo," Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, told the Globe and Mail.
But designer Elena Rivera MacGregor of Vancouver said the design it intended to represent the whole of Canada—not just the West coast.
Over the next five years, the emblem will become internationally recognizable thanks to numerous marketing efforts. The official mascot, torch, cauldron and competition medals will also be developed.