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  • Iranian NOC Sees "Zion" in 2012 Logo; Torch Designers Tapped


    Iranian NOC Says London 2012 Logo Spells “Zion”

    London organizers appear to be mystified by calls from the NOC of Iran to boycott the 2012 Games because of the logo they unveiled almost four years ago.

    “The London 2012 logo clearly represents the year 2012, and nothing else,” LOCOG said Monday in a statement, refuting claims from Tehran that the word “Zion” is hidden in the allegedly pro-Israel graphic.

    “It was launched in 2007 following testing and consultation, and we are surprised that this complaint has been made now.”

    In a letter sent to the IOC and published by the state-backed Iranian Students News Agency, NOC secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh insists the graphic be replaced and the designers, whom he claims are freemasons, be punished.

    "As internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of the 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against the Olympics' valuable mottos,” he was quoted by the ISNA.

    "There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the Games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles."

    Afsharzadeh did not elaborate about the “internet documents” to which he referred.

    A representative from Wolff Olins, the branding firm behind London’s logo, refused to comment to Around the Rings both on the claims of the Iranian NOC and on whether her company has any freemason or Zionist ties.

    The IOC was nearly as close-lipped, acknowledging receipt of the letter but refusing to elaborate on any more detailed response from the IOC to Afsharzadeh.

    “The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else,” an IOC spokesperson told ATR.

    The furor surrounding the controversial logo, designed to capture the imagination of a younger audience, filled acres of newspaper print in the British media and clogged up blog sites and message boards in the wake of its June 2007 launch.

    Further embarrassment came when a short piece of animated footage promoting the Olympics on the London 2012 website had to be hastily removed amid fears it could trigger epileptic seizures.

    Both LOCOG and the IOC stood by the graphic then, just as they do now.

    London 2012 Taps Olympic Torch Designers

    A studio based less than four miles from Olympic Stadium will design the torch for London 2012.
    Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber usually design furniture at their London studio. (Design Council)

    “Literally billions of eyes will be on the Olympic Flame in 2012,” said David Kester, CEO of the Design Council behind Monday’s decision.

    “I am delighted that Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have won this commission and wish them well as standard bearers for UK design.”

    BarberOsgerby beat out other U.K. firms in a bidding process launched last year by LOCOG.

    The lucky duo will design the torch to be used in next year’s 70-day relay. Up to 8,000 torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame around the 2012 host country from May 18 to July 27, when the lighting of the Olympic cauldron opens the London Summer Games.

    Barber and Osgerby will also pitch in on the Paralympic torch as well as the celebration cauldrons used during stops along the relay. Their design for the Olympic torch is expected to be unveiled in June of 2011.

    NBA Stars Bound for Manchester in 2012, London Later This Week

    Team USA will stop by Manchester en route to the London Olympics, part of an ongoing campaign to build excitement for basketball ahead of the 2012 Games.
    The self-branded “Redeem Team” won gold in Beijing after a bronze-coated disappointment in Athens. (Getty Images)

    BBC Sport reported Monday that both the men’s and women’s national teams will play one friendly a piece at MEN Arena, also the site of an NBA preseason game slated for 2013.

    Both the U.S. men and women won gold in Beijing, where basketball was among the hottest tickets. London organizers are hoping to mimic that success despite a lack of any real star power among British players in the NBA.

    Word of the Manchester matchups comes as bona fide NBA play graces Europe for the first time this week.

    The New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors will play back-to-back games Friday and Saturday at O2 Arena, London’s basketball venue for the upcoming Summer Games.

    The Atlanta Dream of the WNBA also has a preseason game scheduled for May 29 at MEN Arena, marking only the second time a WNBA team has played outside of the U.S. BBC speculated the as-yet-unannounced opponent could be Team Great Britain, who has June's EuroBasket tournament in Poland for which to prepare.

    The NBA has held pre-season and exhibition games throughout Europe since 1988 and in London specifically for the past four years. Only Japan, Mexico and the U.S. have hosted regular-season contests.

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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