Aboriginal youth in sports target of Vancouver 2010 poster campaign

Vancouver 2010 press release ...
Meet Aqpik, Marek and Chelsie: Vancouver 2010 Showcases Aboriginal Athletes Through Poster Series and Invites Aboriginal Youth to "Find Your Passion in Sport"
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 5, 2007) - Aboriginal youth across Canada are being invited to find inspiration in Aboriginal athlete role models with Vancouver 2010's "Find Your Passion in Sport" poster series. The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) unveiled the series today as part of its commitment to increase awareness of, and participation in, Olympic and Paralympic winter sport by Canada's Aboriginal people.

"At Vancouver 2010, we have set a goal of unprecedented Aboriginal participation," said VANOC Chief Executive Officer John Furlong. "These three athletes have dreamed bigger, reached higher and celebrated what's possible when you try. We are very proud of their accomplishments and are excited to have them on our team, encouraging Aboriginal participation in sport across the country."

The athletes featured in the series reflect all three Aboriginal groups from across Canada, First Nations, Inuit and Metis. The three inspirational athletes were chosen from a final shortlist of a dozen candidates:

  • Chelsie Mitchell (Snowboard) - a First Nations youth from British Columbia
  • Aqpik Peter (Speed Skating) - an Inuit youth from Nunavut
  • Mareck Beaudoin (Biathlon) - a Metis youth from Quebec

Posters Available On-Line: A version of each poster can be accessed directly via vancouver2010.com at (for the purposes of the media only):

Each of the three posters in the series features a compelling image of the athlete in the natural landscape where he or she lives and trains. The posters are trilingual, and include text in English, French and the Aboriginal language of each athlete's respective ancestry. In conjunction with the unveiling of the poster series, the Aboriginal Participation section of the vancouver2010.com website is being re-launched with new content. The "Find Your Passion in Sport" poster series images can be downloaded free as wallpaper from vancouver2010.com.

More than 20,000 posters will be distributed to Aboriginal communities and organizations, Aboriginal youth organizations, Friendship Centres and Aboriginal schools across Canada. The campaign is designed to inspire Aboriginal youth to explore their dreams and become more actively engaged in winter sport at all levels.

"To be featured in this poster campaign is an honour and something I would never have imagined possible," said Team Quebec biathlete Mareck Beaudoin. "Now that I see the final result of this project, I am reminded that sport is not only important for me as an individual athlete, but that sport and sport role models are important for all Aboriginal people in Canada."

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games are not only about athletic excellence but also about community engagement and building a sport legacy to benefit everyone", said the Honourable Helena Guergis, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Sport. "The young athletes featured on these posters are a symbol of the role that Aboriginal Peoples are playing to help reach these goals of the 2010 Winter Games and we are confident that they will make their communities and Canada proud."

VANOC is the first Organizing Committee to integrate Indigenous Peoples as official partners in the planning and hosting of a Games. Aboriginal people were asked to participate in a meaningful way to formally acknowledge the partnership with VANOC, which has set a goal of achieving, with its partners, unprecedented Aboriginal participation in the planning and hosting of the 2010 Winter Games.

Background on the Campaign

In 2005, VANOC and the Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC), Canada's national voice for Aboriginal sport, signed a Statement of Cooperation. This Statement declares the intention to work together to take advantage of the opportunity the 2010 Winter Games provide to inspire and encourage more Aboriginal people to participate in sport across the country. In cooperation with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the selection of the athletes to be featured in the posters was a process that took much of summer 2006. Over 60 nomination submissions were received from across Canada.

The Aboriginal athlete poster design highlights the athletes as role models in a style comparable to famous iconic athletes who are showcased as strong, confident and intense in their disciplines. The photography style, lighting and profile of the athlete is given a similar treatment to that found in top sport magazines featuring star athletes. The background highlights the association between each athlete's training ground and the important connection to nature which continues to develop, challenge, motivate and inspire.

VANOC is proud to be working with the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations - known as the Four Host First Nations - on whose traditional lands the Games will take place - as well as other First Nations, Inuit and Me'tis groups throughout Canada in the planning and hosting of the Games.

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

CONTACT INFORMATION for Vancouver 2010
Mary Fraser, Media Contact, (778) 328-3667