Olympics

Slogan of the 2010 Games will be 'With Glowing Hearts'

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The Canadian Press
9/25/2008 8:11:22 PM
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VANCOUVER - The next time hockey fans stand up before a game, grasping a beer as they sing along to the national anthem, they will be unwitting marketers of the 2010 Winter Games.

And the next time a grade school student fumbles her way through O Canada at the start of class she, too, will be reciting the slogan for the Vancouver Olympics.

The words "with glowing hearts" from the English version of O Canada, and "des plus brilliant exploits" from the French version, have been chosen as the slogan for the Games.

"We chose words that are cherished by all of us, words that we believe in," John Furlong, the chief executive officer of the organizing committee of the Olympics, announced Thursday.

"Together the words embody our great Canadian spirit and what results when we give life our very best."

O Canada was written over 100 years ago and is in the public domain, meaning it can be used by anyone as they like.

It surfaced as a possible slogan during a brainstorming session in 2007, said Ali Gardiner, director of creative services for the organizing committee.

"When this one came up, everyone just sort of knew this was the one," she said.

The slogan was then taken to focus groups and athletes.

The choice of the lyrics from the French version of the anthem resonated with Quebecers especially, organizers said, who reportedly appreciated the slogan wasn't just a translation of an English phrase.

The slogan was approved by the committee's board of directors - which includes three representatives from the federal government - before it was presented to the International Olympic Committee earlier this year.

"I think the slogan is great," James Moore, the federal secretary of state for the 2010 Olympics, said in a statement.

"It speaks to the 2010 Games as 'Canada's Games' and is a unifying message for Canadians."

The fact the anthem belongs to all Canadians is the reason the lyrics were chosen, said Dave Cobb, vice-president of marketing and communications for the committee.

"We're using the words with the greatest respect, we know they mean a lot to Canadians. We think they will use it in a way they are proud of," Cobb said.

"The fact that it does come from the anthem, I think raises the bar a little bit on how we use it."

That hasn't stopped organizers from trademarking the two phrases so they can't be used by anyone else in connection with the 2010 Olympics.

Cobb said the slogan won't be used to sell goods, though sponsors for the Games have the ability to use it as part of their deal with the organizing committee.

But the committee's "use of the motto in no way changes how these words can be used by Canadians or how Canadians enjoy the national anthem as a whole or the specific phrases," organizers said in a statement.

Even a store in Stratford, Ont., called "With Glowing Hearts" won't be affected, as they don't sell anything related to the Games, organizers said.

Organizers have been hyper-vigilant about words and phrases connected to the Games being used beyond official Olympic purposes.

So concerned with the brand, they managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed last year that also gives them ownership of general words like winter and gold if they are used in an Olympic context.

Several Canadian Olympians past and future joined the committee to make the announcement, including Paralympian Daniel Wesley, and gold-medal wrestler Carol Huynh.

"When I think of the words "with glowing hearts" it really brings a visceral response still from me," said Huynh.

"It brings me back to five or six weeks ago when I won that gold medal and I was standing on top of that podium . . . when I was standing up there and I was watching our flag rise up into the sky and I was singing that national anthem, it just reminds me of all of the sacrifices, all the obstacles I overcame, all of the wonderful memories that I have in this process of getting to the top of that podium."

The fact the anthem regularly comes from the lips of kids and sports fans is a "bonus" in keeping Olympic spirit alive in Canada, said Furlong.

"If in 2010 this is on everybody's mind in the country and that Canadians are either here in Vancouver, or sitting in front of their television screens or sitting in their offices celebrating this and this is part of what they think about, we'll be very proud."

They'll roll out the new catchphrase in a national advertising campaign with television, Internet and movie spots as well as ads in newspapers.

It's not the first time a line from the anthem has been seized for broader purposes.

The Conservatives revamped the official government website in 2006 using the phrase "true north strong and free" on the welcome banner.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games (Photo: VANOC)

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(Photo: VANOC)
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