ROME, November 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Athletes endorse first European Games logo as preparations in Baku proceed rapidly
Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sport, Azad Rahimov, today unveiled the official logo for the first European Games, which will be held in June 2015 in Azerbaijan's capital city, Baku.
"We are honoured to host the first-ever European Games and to welcome athletes and visitors from throughout Europe for this historic event in 2015," said Minister Rahimov. "Our logo reflects the pride of our nation in its sporting heritage, our commitment to hospitality and welcoming our guests, and our position as an emerging center for sport, business and tourism in Europe and beyond."
Logo designer, Azerbaijani Adam Yunisov, said: "I wanted to reflect the passion and aspirations that the people in Azerbaijan have and share for these first ever European Games, to be innovative and inspirational in spirit and in sport. This is a celebratory logo which embodies that vision."
The logo was launched at the 42nd European Olympic Committees General Assembly in Rome and represents another important milestone in preparing for the Games, according to EOC President Patrick Hickey.
"Europe, for the first time, will have its own continental multi-sport event. For many European athletes, this event will be an important step on the journey to one day wearing their nation's colours as a competitor in the Olympic Games," Hickey said.
The first European Games in Baku in 2015 will see more than 5,400 athletes from all of the 49 Olympic nations of Europe compete in 18 sports, including new formats and disciplines featuring for the first time at a major European sports event, such as basketball 3x3.
Athletes from the host nation of Azerbaijan immediately embraced the new logo. Speaking at a celebration of the logo launch in Baku, Farid Mansurov, an Azerbaijani wrestler who won gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, commented: "Baku 2015 promises to provide career-defining opportunities and moments for athletes, high-quality sporting action for fans and inspiration for young people. To wear this logo is to be a part of shaping the future of European sport."
Zemfira Meftakhetdinova, a sport shooter who won two Olympic medals in skeet, including Gold in Sydney 2000, added: "As an Azerbaijani sportswoman, this is a logo that makes me feel proud of our country's emergence as a European centre for sport, business and tourism."
The logo is the latest in a succession of milestones for Baku 2015 European Games organisers that include:
- completion of the draft sports programme and competition schedule
- finalisation of the venue masterplan, with 21 stadia and facilities described by Hickey as "among the most spectacular assembled for a major sporting event". All venues are on schedule and include:
- a modern Athletes' Village that promises new standards of accommodation and preparation
- utilisation of iconic Crystal Hall as the home for five sports
- development of a new Baku Aquatics Centre
- a purpose-built 65,000 seat stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies
The rapid progress in planning for the Baku 2015 European Games has impressed international event specialists and members of the European Games Coordination Commission, which conducted an inspection visit last month.
"The pace and scale of the planning behind Baku is a tribute to the commitment of the Government of Azerbaijan, the Organising Committee, local Baku communities and companies, and the European Olympic Committee under President Hickey's leadership," said Jim Scherr, COO of the Baku European Games Operating Committee (BEGOC). "Baku will be ready to welcome the athletes of Europe in 2015."
The logo was unveiled during Baku's first progress report to the EOC General Assembly as host city for the European Games.
Conceived by 35 year-old Azerbaijani Adam Yunisov, the new logo brings together five core elements that have shaped the host country's ancient and contemporary culture and aspirations, including Flame, Water, the mythical Simurgh bird, Carpet and Pomegranate.
Yunisov's logo design, which followed an open public competition, depicts the nation's natural beauty, culture and heritage, and the vibrancy of Baku, one of Europe's fastest-growing economies and cities.
Minister Rahimov said the legacy benefits from the European Games will be significant and transformational.
"For young people, athletes, National Olympic Committees and Sports Federations, Baku 2015 will provide a new world-class centre of sports venues and facilities that will help to shape the future of sport in Europe and, for the communities of Azerbaijan, bring new urban, transport and economic benefits and infrastructure," the Minister said.
"That's what these Games - and our passionate desire to host them - are really about," he said.
Europe's newest sports logo will make its debut this evening, adorning player shirts of Atlético Madrid, in the La Liga home match against Getafe CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium. The game will feature the Baku 2015 logo to show the Spanish Club's support for the first European Games as a part of its strategic alliance with the country of Azerbaijan.
Notes to the editor:
AP subscribers can access and download broadcast-quality video material of the launch of the Baku 2015 logo via all AP subscriber platforms and global news wire. Non-AP clients and web users can access and download video material at AP's website: http://www.apassignments.com/multimedia-newsroom
About the Baku 2015 logo
Conceived by 35 year-old Azerbaijani Adam Yunisov, the Baku 2015 logo brings together five core elements that have shaped the host country's ancient and contemporary culture and aspirations:
- Carpet: Added to UNESCO's 'Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' in 2010, Azerbaijani carpet weaving is a family tradition transferred orally and through practice among the country's many carpet-making regions. This element of the logo reflects the importance of cultural heritage, diversity and creative expression, principles intrinsic to the Baku 2015 plans.
- Flame: Azerbaijan is known as the 'Land of Fire'. Baku's modern LED-covered Flame Towers, which display the movement of a fire visible city-wide, and Yanar Dag, a natural gas fire which blazes at dusk, attract tourists from around the world, with visitor figures up three times in the past decade. The element represents Baku's burning ambition to host Europe's first ever European Games.
- Wave: At 28 meters below sea level, Baku is the lowest-lying national capital in the world. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea, also known as the world's largest lake. Here Baku Port is the largest sea port, dating back to 1902. Today the capital of Azerbaijan's unique geographic location continues to drive its economic, social and cultural development. This element symbolises the dynamic growth of the city on an east-west axis along the shores of the Caspian Sea, and the new wave concept for a European Games that will shape the future of sport on the continent.
- Simurgh: A benevolent, mythical flying creature, the Simurgh is considered to represent the union between the Earth and the Sky, serving as mediator and messenger between the two. The element symbolises the connection that Azerbaijani people have with the natural environment, along with their warmth and hospitality that will welcome athletes, fans and officials in 2015.
- Pomegranate: Famous in Azerbaijani food and heritage, the pomegranate has long symbolised fertility and abundance. This fifth element of the logo represents the ambition of Baku 2015 to bring together people from across Europe in a celebration of sport and to create a legacy for future generations.
About Baku 2015, the first European Games
Baku 2015 will be the first ever European Games and will involve more than 5,400 competitors, from the 49 Olympic nations of Europe, across 18 sports. The Games are owned, organised, and regulated by the European Olympic Committees (EOC). They were created at the EOC General Assembly on 9th December 2012 in Rome, Italy, when the overwhelming majority of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Europe voted for the creation of the European Games. It was at this General Assembly that the NOC's awarded the inaugural Games, again by overwhelming majority, to the city of Baku, Azerbaijan. For more information visit http://www.baku2015.com
For up-to-the-minute information on the European Games Baku 2015 and regular updates, please see:
SOURCE Baku 2015 European Games