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The Emblem of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Its Cultural Connotation

Ladies and Gentlemen,  Good morning!
     We are here to discuss the relations between the Olympic Games and culture. Since we share a common view that People’s Olympics is by no means a hollow talk. The evolution of the modern Olympic Movement proves that sports can only demonstrate spirit through physical competition, and that sports can only express emotions through physical exercises. Only through such means, can sports make people develop common ideals and believes in daily life -- equality, justice, peace and friendship.
     Therefore, I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you my experiences in bringing the emblem of the 2008 Olympic Games into being and discuss the unique Chinese cultural content of the emblem.
     (First, please allow me to show you a short video film about the Beijing 2008 Olympic emblem.)
      On August 3, 2003, the emblem of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was officially unveiled to the public. It was a milestone in our preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. The "Chinese Seal-Dancing Beijing" emblem has received wide attention and favorable response worldwide. It is a perfect combination of traditional form of Chinese arts and the Olympic spirit. It reflects the aspiration that the 1.3 billion Chinese people cherish to the Olympic Movement and their unique understanding of the Olympic spirit.
     Through more than 100 years of development of the modern Olympic Movement, its image and related scenery have become unique intangible assets of every Olympic Games. As the core of the image of Olympic Games, the logo of the Games has become not only one of the most widely recognized emblems in the world, but also the most valuable intangible asset of the host cities and organizing committees in terms of image application and market development.
The emblems of previous Olympic Games have different design and reflects different ideas. However, most of them show the characteristics of the host cities and have unique design. Over the past more than 100 years, the design of the logos has grown from unskillful to mature and finally develop its own formula that is accepted around the world. According to the formula, the Olympic emblem consists of three elements: unique and original design, name of the host city plus the year and the five interlocking rings of the Olympics. Organizing committees of the previous Olympic Games always took great pains in designing a unique graphic image and the matching characters.
     In terms of the concept of design, the design of the Olympic emblems attempts to reflect the Olympic spirit and cultural and regional characteristics. An excellent design should be a perfect combination of the two elements. In recent years, the trend of putting regional cultural characteristics into the design of Olympic emblems is on the rise.
 
     In terms of the styles of design, the design of Olympic emblems are usually divided into three categories: 1. Using sports image as the main element, e.g., the emblems of the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Olympics and the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games; 2. Using regional characteristics as the main element, e.g. the emblems of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and 2004 Athens Olympic Games; 3. Combining the elements of sports image with regional characteristics, e.g. the emblems of the1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. At last, the combination of typical local elements with sport images is the most popular way of designing the Olympic emblems at present.
     Generally speaking, an excellent design should be in line with modern aesthetic requirements, embodies the fine traditions of Olympic emblem design and clearly distinctive from previous Olympic emblems and the emblems of other global sports events. It should leave room for recreation so that it can be easily adapted and applied to various forms of Olympic image and scenes. It should also be convenient for TV broadcasting, for reproduction in either plane or multi-dimensional forms and for the manufacturing and processing of relevant carriers. In addition, it should have great potential for display in cities and competition arenas and facilitate post-Olympics utilization and market development. Finally, it should be easy for the Olympic organizing committee to use, develop and protect the emblem.
     In order to create an Olympic emblem that reflects the features of the splendid Chinese culture and Beijing and to show the great charm of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the long-standing, splendid history of Chinese culture and civilization, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) has put into a great effort in organizing the design and selection of the Olympic emblem. The entire process took more than one year and achieved satisfactory results.
In the initiate phase of the work, we held the "Symposium on Olympic Visual Image" and the "Beijing 2008 Olympic Design Conference" respectively in April and July 2002. Over 600 international and Chinese designers and representatives of designing institute attended the meetings and thoroughly discussed the design of the Olympic emblem.
     On July 3, 2002, a design competition of the logo of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games officially began. The contest drew attention from designers around the world. By October 8, 2002, the BOCOG had received 1,985 valid entries of designs. Some 1,763 or 88.31% of them were from China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) and the remaining 222 or 11.69% were from abroad. Most of the designs had strong Chinese characteristics and made in-depth exploration of the Olympic spirit. Most of the entries contain the image of athletes and such patterns as dragon, phoenix and the Temple of Heaven. A certain proportion of them use Chinese characters as the basic patterns.
     From October 10 to 15 and from November 3 to 4, 2002, a selection committee consisting of 11 international and Chinese artists and designers made initial and second-round selection among all the entries and chose ten of them as winners, including the designs of "Chinese Seal-Dancing Beijing," "Five- Colored Auspicious Clouds," and "Temple of Heaven."
In order to let the public participate in the design of the Olympic emblem and enhance transparency of the preparatory work for the Olympic Games, we held a meeting of the Olympic emblem appraisal committee that consists of 30 personages from all sections of the society. After re-evaluating he results of the Olympic emblem selection, the public appraisal committee draw the same conclusion as made by the selection committee.
     To ensure the impartiality of the selection process and the validity of the results, we invited  public notary agents to notarize the entire process of emblem selection. The members of the selection committee and appraisal committee, experts and other relevant personnel all signed confidentiality agreements as they took part in the work.
 
     On November 21 and December 16, 2002, the Executive Commission of the BOCOG conducted two examinations of the award-winning designs. Judging from the perspective of creativity, future image application and marketing development, the Commission concluded that the top award winner "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" had qualifications of becoming the emblem of the XXIX Olympic Games. It can be modified and improved as an option design. According to the decision of the Executive Commission, we organized the original designers and relevant experts to make repeated modifications of "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing".
     In the process of modifying the design and in order to avoid similarity or duplication of the logo with other registered trade marks in the world, we asked the Chinese National Trademark Bureau and the intellectual property rights consulting company of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to conduct surveys of registered rights both in China and around the world. According to the results of the surveys, we invited professional designers to made further improvement of the design. At all, the modified logo of "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" won the approved of both Chinese and international experts at a meeting of the special committee on Olympic emblem selection on February 11, 2003. The emblem was later unanimously approved at a meeting of the Executive Commission of the BOCOG on February 17 and was officially confirmed as the emblem of the XXIX Olympic Games.
     In the afternoon of March 28, 2003, IOC President Jacques Rogge and Chairman Hein Verbruggen of the XXIX Olympic Games Coordination Commission and relevant IOC officials listened to the presentations of the BOCOG in Lausanne, Switzerland and examined the emblem. After listening to the presentations, Rogge spoke highly about the presentations. He said the emblem was a perfect design full of energy and poetic quality. He said the emblem reflected the long-standing history, the splendid culture and bright future of China. On behalf of the IOC, Rogge expressed consent and approval of the new logo that the BOCOG put forward. To everyone's surprise, Rogge took out a seal engraved with his Chinese name and stamped on the sample of the emblem and signed his name on it.
 
     As for this moment, the XXIX Olympics emblem Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" put forward by the BOCOG was officially approved by the IOC.
     On August 3, 2003, the BOCOG held a grand unveiling ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games emblem at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The ceremony used large-scale art performance to explain the concept of the emblem and brought forth the Olympic spirit and ideal through unique forms of the Chinese culture. The ceremony showed to the world the Chinese people's passion and aspiration for the Olympics. It displayed the attractiveness of the combination of the essence of Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit.
     So far the 16-months process of selecting and releasing the Olympic emblem had concluded.  The emblem "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" came into being.
     Every emblem of the Olympics tells a story. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" tells about Beijing's understanding of and commitment to the Olympic Movement.
1. "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" adopts a typical form of traditional Chinese art. It combines the arts of Chinese characters, seal carving and calligraphy and conveyed the rich and profound cultural content of the East in the form of a seal. The Chinese character "Jing" on the seal is artistically modified and resembles with a human figure who is running, dancing, chanting and embracing triumph.
The Chinese characters in the emblem are in a unique font that was widely used on bamboo carving in the Han Dynasty. The style and features of the strokes of the Chinese characters are also used in the English letters of "Beijing 2008." Its natural appearance, simplicity, smoothness and easiness are totally in harmony with the emblem and the Olympic rings, thus forming a unique style.
2. "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" uses the most favored color of the Chinese people, red -- as basic color of the design. The red color expresses the Chinese people’s passion to life and the Olympics. It has always been regarded as the symbolic color of China. The red star, red flag and red government jointly formed a red republic. Red symbolizes the sun in the East, the sacred fire of life, the ode to auspiciousness and beauty, the bliss and hospitality of the Chinese people to the world, a symbol of happiness and a reflection of the passion and vigor of Beijing.
3. "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" inherits the outstanding tradition in the design of the Olympic emblems. It exemplifies the Olympic spirit of challenging the limit, winning glory and being "Faster, Higher and Stronger." The emblem uses a human figure as it major subject and emphasizes the people-oriented and athlete-centered concept of the Olympic Games. It combines the themes of sports, peace, friendship and happiness and conveys the highest ideals of the Olympics. 
 4. "Chinese seal, Dancing Beijing" is a perfect combination of Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit. It reflects the Chinese people's deep and unique understanding of the Olympics and their commitment and confidence to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese seal resembling a human figure is the most symbolic presentation of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Its friendly image shows a balance between movement and stillness, strength and flexibility, which is a reflection of the sincerity and open-mindedness of the Chinese people. On the Chinese Seal? the engravings means the oath that the 1.3 billion people and the 56 ethnic groups of China made to the Olympic Movement. It is a witness the Chinese nation’s admiration of the Olympic spirit and the Beijing city’s aspiration for the Olympic ideal. The emblem is symbol of faith, a manifestation of confidence and a solemn commitment that the host city Beijing made to the world and the human beings.
"Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" belongs to not only China, but also the world. It uses traditional art forms to express the concept of New Beijing, Great Olympics. It is concise and dynamic, straightforward and rich in content, deep-rooted in cultural background and open to modern ideas.  As a perfectly designed Olympic art piece, it will become a precious cultural legacy of the 2008 Olympic Games and find a place in the history of Olympic art design.
 
     Friends, it is the goal of the design and selection of the Beijing Olympic image to create a unique visual image of oriental wisdom and add new concept and elements of design to the Olympic Movement. Chinese civilization has a history of more than 5,000 years. Our ancestors had made unremitting efforts to pursue the philosophical idea of harmony between heaven and man. In the long and splendid history of Chinese art and culture, there has always been a tradition of combining sports with culture. The design of the scenery of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games should clearly and concisely express the aesthetics and value of the Beijing Olympics, reflects the tradition of combining sports with culture in Eastern civilization and spreads the concept of People’s Olympics.
 
     What we do today is to create a sound cultural environment for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Let's use our wisdom and talent to write a glorious new chapter of the Olympic Movement with Chinese cultural characteristics.

Thank you!

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