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Contact: Dave Mingey
Tel: 1-914-360-5313


Unveiled:  The New Logo of the Iraqi Olympic Team

Baghdad – April 2, 2004 – Today at Al Shaab Stadium in Central Baghdad, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, The Administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), joined Ahmed Al-Samarrai, President of the National Olympic Committee of Iraq (NOCI), in unveiling the new official logo for the Iraqi Olympic Team.

In his remarks Ambassador Bremer announced new funding for the continued growth of sports in Iraq. In addition to the CPA providing US$10 million to support the development of sports programs throughout the nation, a special contribution of US$3 million has been designated to refurbish the Al Shaab Stadium. That money will be used to restore the neglected athletic facility, often referred to as The Olympic Stadium, to a condition once again suitable for hosting football matches before a national crowd. Because of the stadium’s decay, the Iraqi National Football Team currently plays their home games in Amman, Jordan.

Alongside Ambassador Bremer and NOCI President Samarrai to assist in the logo unveiling were two future Olympians, Raad Abbas Rasheed and Al’aa Hikmet. Rasheed, a tae kwon do athlete, is the first Iraqi to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Summer Games. One of the nation’s best female athletes, Hikmet plans to compete in the Olympic100 meters and 200 meters.

“Today’s Olympic ceremony is truly another reminder that Iraq is back,” said Ambassador Bremer. “Around the world, sport is a powerful and expedient way to transcend the many boundaries often created by complex issues like politics, race and gender equity. The recent success of the Iraqi Olympic Movement is a clear indication that people of Iraq have tremendous pride in their national identity and their ability to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the world’s greatest athletes on the Olympic stage. We are proud of them and wish them great success, under their new logo, in Athens.”

Designed in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, the logo features a green silhouette of a date palm tree encircled by a green wreath of palm leaves. Iraq is a land noted for its countless species of date palms. Also, inside the circle are the Olympic Rings in the five colors which represent the five continents and the words “National Olympic Committee of Iraq” in both English and Arabic.

“This is truly an historic day for athletes all over Iraq,” said NOCI President Samarrai said. “Our new logo represents the energized spirit of the revitalized Olympic Movement in our country. The National Olympic Committee is very appreciative of the CPA’s $13 million contribution, as well as the overall support they have given to us since day-one. We are very excited to represent the new free and democratic Iraq at the upcoming 2004 Olympic Summer Games.”

The unveiling signifies the completion of the regime change for the Iraqi Olympic Movement. Under Uday Hussein, the former head of the Iraqi Olympic Movement, sports were severely neglected and the abuse of athletes was widely reported. In May of 2003, the International Olympic Committee suspended Iraq. Yet, through the support of the CPA, the new leaders of sport in this country were able to hold more than 500 elections for sports federations and clubs – the first democratic elections in Iraq in more than 35 years. Through these elections the people of Iraq were able to elect a new Olympic Committee and begin rebuilding sports in the country. This past February in Athens, the IOC voted unanimously to lift the suspension and welcomed the country back to the Olympic Family of 201 nations.

The NOCI is hoping to send several athletes to compete in Athens this August 13th-29th. Pending the outcome of qualifications and wildcard entries, it is hoped that the following Iraqi athletes will join Raad Abbas Rasheed and Al’aa Hikmet in Athens: the men’s Under-23 National Soccer team, one boxer, one weightlifter, a male swimmer, a male sprinter and a wrestler. The final delegation will be announced in mid-May.

If you have any questions, please email Dave Mingey at

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