Olympic Truce Wall Unveiled at Olympic Village
The Olympic Truce Wall was unveiled in Vancouver by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge along with the members of the IOC’s Executive Board and Athletes’ Commission. A welcome dance and a blessing was delivered by representatives of Canada’s First Nations before the ceremony held in the heart of the Olympic Village.
Athletes send a powerful message
The tradition of the Olympic Truce, or “Ekecheiria", dates back to the 9th century BC in Ancient Greece as a period during which war and conflict were ceased to allow for safe travel to and from the ancient Olympic Games. Today, the Olympic Truce represents the IOC's aim to inspire peace through sport.
“The world today is a difficult place to live in, with many conflicts between nations and in many cases, citizens of same nations taking up arms against fellow citizens,” said Jacques Rogge. “However, there is an exception, and this exception is the Olympic Village.”
“With people from 82 different nationalities living together peacefully, irrespective of their ethnic origin, gender, culture, religion, language, creed or political system, this unity of purpose, sends a very powerful Olympic message of peace and harmony to the world.”
“Since Athens 2004, the Olympic Truce Wall has become a visible symbol of our desire for universal peace and harmony throughout the world,” he continued.
A signature for peace
As for past Games, athletes and officials in the villages will be invited to show their support of the Truce by signing a panel on the installation, as well as a register. “Our hope is that, by signing this wall, officials and athletes will express their individual and collective commitment to peace and solidarity,” said Rogge. The registers, four in all, will be donated to museums including The Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The Truce Wall consists of two pillars featuring Aboriginal artworks, one of an orca whale and the other of a raven, etched into stainless steel panels. The pillars recreate the Vancouver 2010 medal’s artwork in 3D form and have three openings each in the shape of the medal where light can shine through. A replica installation was simultaneously unveiled at the Olympic Village in Whistler.
United Nations resolution
As part of the commemoration of the Olympic Truce, it is tradition for the Host Country to present a resolution to the United Nations (UN) calling for a truce during the Olympic Games. For Vancouver 2010, this resolution was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in October. Through this document, the UN invites its member States to observe and promote peace before, during and after the Games in order to protect the interests of athletes and sport in general, and to contribute, through sport, to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world's conflicts.
Click here to learn more about the Olympic Truce