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Shan't we send a herald?

4 (2009)
Viewed: 1743
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In cause of popularisation of Olympic Games all means are good, even «Special committee of celebrities for promotion».

A monument he's raised not built with hands

Alike the traditions of Ancient Olympia, holding of the Games today is an important event both in sports and business world. In the USA the annual turnover of the market of sports sponsorship makes about 200 million dollars, in Europe — more than 8 billion euro. Well-known brands are the official partners of the IOC and take active part in a selection of Olympic ambassadors. An illustration: Jane Flemming, Bonnie Blair, Ross Powers, Hanna Nardvey have become the ambassadors of Samsung Electronics company since 2000…

Lot of Olympic ambassadors more often falls upon famous athletes. In 1936, at XI summer Games in Berlin, black athlete Jasse Owens hold four world records within 45 minutes. But the main merit of Owens is that he had shown these achievements during the Olympic Games, which historians would name the fascist later. According to Hitler's plan, Jews, black and other «subhuman beings» should not take part in the Olympic Games. However, the USA have insisted on participation of the Afro-American athletes. In a fit of anger the Fuhrer left stadium and refused to congratulate Jasse Owens on a shattering victory.

It's a pity, that only in 1955 he was given the status of the Olympic ambassador of America. Not less it's a pity, that the country which was made famous by Owens, did not have money to commemorate his memory. But, all the same, the monument was erected — due to the organizers of Olympic Games-1996 who had raised fund of almost 1,5 million dollars for some weeks. The Olympic flame was lighted at the monument of the legend and carried throughout northwest Alabama to the stadium in Atlanta. There are another examples. The absolute world champion of 1950, 1951 and 1952, skater Yalmar Andersen, awarded the title of the Olympic ambassador of Norway at XVII winter Games in Lillehammer, and was, perhaps, the one sportsman of a planet to whom a monument was erected during his lifetime. Even not one monument, but three!

In a show business context

 Very few people know, that the founder of the first Olympic dramatized show, after the revival of Games, was Nazy Germany. It brought the idea to light the flame by means of system of mirrors.

Along with the ceremony of lightning the Olympic flame, there appeared ambassadors-flame carriers. In each country there were scores of well-known actors, musicians, sportsmen, politicians.

So. little by little, the idea of «Olympic ambassadors» was losing its original sense. At XXVIII summer Games, that were held in 2004 in Athenes, mega-stars invited to advertise future competitions played the part. «Special committee of celebrities for promotion» recorded and released music collection «Unity». It contains compositions of Sting, Alice Cooper, Earth Wind & Fire, Lenny Kravitz, Destiny's Chid.

In two years — in 2006 — at the opening of the  winter Olympic Games in Turin, the wife of ex-Beatles John Lennon, Yoko Ono, rock legend Peter Gabriel, number one opera singer Luchano Pavarotti and supermodel Eva Herzigova added modern Games to a show business context once and for all.

The official ambassador of the recent Olympic Games — Beijing -2008 — became the Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan. This title prevented him from exhibition fight with the former absolute boxing world champion Kostya Tszyu. The Chinese government permitted to fight at first, but then cancelled the fight, reasoning that «the ambassador of the Olympic Games should not be bashed up». The other herald of the Games in Heavenly Empire — Wei Wei, one of the most sold singers in the world. She was awarded the title of ambassador in 1993, wnen the CHN fighted for the right to hold the Olympic Games for the first time. After 15 years the Hong Kong director Zhang Yimou, popular in Hollywood, managed to astonish the world by his show, and Olympic ambassadors managed to convince the opponents of communistic China, that their country is worthy and capable of holding the Olympic Games — one of the best for today.


Author: Irina Fomina