Coalition Provisional Authority
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dave Mingey
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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