The logo for the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session in Durban on 4-9 July was officially unveiled by IOC Executive Board Member, Dr Sam Ramsamy, SASCOC President Gideon Sam and the Mayor Designate, James Nxumalo at a 30-day countdown ceremony in Durban on Thursday.
Dr Ramsamy highlighted that “Heads of State, Royalty, Ministers and former Ministers, International Sports Administrators, Heads of International Corporate Companies and Sports Stars make up the illustrious membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This is the first time that such a group is assembling in South Africa. This provides us with abounding opportunities to showcase our economy, our tourism, our culture and our people. We are extremely grateful that the IOC has given us the honour to host this prestigious event.
“Having been born in Durban, this is indeed a great delight and honour that we can host such a high profile event in this city. Having waited for 117 years to host this event in our country and knowing how cities and countries vie to host the IOC Session, Durban is certainly fortunate. This gives me an opportunity to personally welcome my colleagues to the city where I was born.”
The three cities bidding for the privilege are Munich (Germany), Annecy (France) and PyeongChang (Korea), drawn by lot in that particular order.
Speaking at the launch, SASCOC president Gideon Sam said South Africa must understand the significance of the Session. “I cannot emphasise just how big an honour for South Africa it is to be afforded the privilege of hosting this, the 123rd IOC Session in Durban.
“This is not the first time it’s coming to Durban, not the first time it’s coming to South Africa but the first time that it is coming to the African continent since the very first Session in Paris, France back in 1894. That’s how big a deal it is.
“The Session will be taking place at a time when we as a country must realise that such major events are few and far between and many countries would give their eye teeth to have such a Session in their own cities. Durban, indeed South Africa is honoured to play host to such a great event and for the sports fraternity it cannot be more opportune as we set our sights on continuing to bring bigger and better events to the continent of Africa.
“Every Session has its own particular highlight. At the last Session in Vancouver, Canada it was the unveiling of Nanjing, China as the host for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics and the highlight of this particular Session in Durban will be the announcement of the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy also emphasised the importance of the event. “It’s an honour not only for South Africa but the entire African continent. It’s a great opportunity to work closely with the IOC, to support them, and to realise the quality of the IOC members visiting our shores in terms of status.”
A large number of the world’s leading royal families will also be in attendance at various stages during the Session.
Reddy went on to acknowledge the role that national government had to play in the Session. “The Honorable Sports Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, has formed an inter-ministerial committee to oversee the event and the support from the SA government is significant.”
Durban was first nominated to host the 123rd Session in April, 2008, along with a second candidate (Hong Kong), and Durban was then given the honour at the 120th IOC Session in Beijing, China in August that year.
The incoming Mayor of Durban, Councillor James Nxumalo, also celebrated the coming of the Session to Durban. We are delighted to be part of the team hosting the first ever session of the IOC on the African continent.As the city in which the first President of the ANC Dr John Dube lived and worked, where Mahatma Gandhi developed his movement for peace, as the home of the first black Nobel-laureate Chief Luthuli, as the place where Nelson Mandela voted in 1994 and as Africas sporting and events capital, we are honoured to host the worlds premier sports organisation.President Jacques Rogge and the IOC members, the visiting city delegations from Germany, France and Korea, the media and all associated with the great Olympian movement are welcome and we trust that they all experience our city as the warmest place to be.”
Back to the striking logo for the session predominately blue in colour, it was designed by Cape Town based company Interactive Africa, with the designer responsible for the logo being Richard Quintal.
Explaining the rationale behind the logo, Quintal said he had done lengthy research before coming up with his final concept.
“I looked at various Olympic sports and one in particular stood out that of the ribbon used ingymnastics very fluid and elegant. I imagined what the ribbon would look like as it fell to the floor. I then used a single piece of ribbon and made it into the shape of Africa, scanned it and redrew it creating a more graphical representation.
“I used the shape of Africa as it is a more identifiable symbol than South Africa alone. Most international people think that South Africa and Africa are one and the same. I then used Gotham for the font. A very simple to read font with a classic feel.”
The 123rd Session gets underway with the opening ceremony at Durban’s Playhouse Company on 5 July and the announcement of the 2018 Winter Olympics host city will be made on Wednesday, 6 July.