Visa Canada

Visa Canada

August 05, 2008 14:33 ET

Imaginations Take Flight: Winners of the Visa Olympics of the Imagination Art Competition Depart for Beijing

Four talented young artists from across Canada to attend Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as guests of Visa

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 5, 2008) -

Editors Note: A photo is included with this press release.

Alongside the coaches, family members and fans cheering from the stands at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be four very excited young artists from across Canada. Today, Canadian winners of the Visa Olympics of the Imagination (VOI) art competition will depart for Beijing for the vacation of a lifetime - a trip for two to experience the sights, sounds and delights of the Olympic Games.

Created for children ages 10 to 14, VOI encourages budding artists to think creatively and explore the history and values of the Olympic Games. The winners of the VOI 2008 competition were chosen following their submission of an original piece of art that communicated the theme of this year's Games - "One World, One Dream". Winners, along with their respective parent, will spend one week in Beijing attending Olympic Games events and participating in cultural and sightseeing activities.

Visa Canada would like to congratulate the following first prize winners representing Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada:

- Brianna Hartness, age 13, Regina, SK

- Maia Desjardins, age 14, Port Hope, ON

- Cang Yi Yan, age 12, Quebec City, QC

- Danyka Leclair, age 11, Campbellton, NB

These four Canadians are among the 30 youth from 18 participating countries who will attend the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as guests of Visa, a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Games.

Ontario winner Maia Desjardins painted children uniting around a traditional Chinese dragon in her "Olympic Spirit" watercolour. Fourteen-year-old Brianna Hartness from Regina, SK titled her drawing "'World Win' of Dreams", which showed flags - symbolizing people and cultures coming together from around the world - whirling into China. Cambellton, NB's Danyka Leclair and Quebec City, QC's Cang Yi Yan, both 12, were also first prize winners. Both captured the values and history of the Olympic Games in their individual artwork titled "Dare to Dream" and "Tous reunis pour la victoire", respectively.

"Brianna, Maia, Cang Yi and Danyka demonstrated the 'One World, One Dream' spirit of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with incredible originality and creativity," said Tania Freedman, Head of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "By stretching their imaginations, these talented kids have been rewarded with the summer vacation of a lifetime. Visa congratulates these winners and hopes all entrants enjoyed exploring the history and values of the Olympic Games."

Canadian VOI submissions were judged for their originality and imagination, artistic merit, and interpretation of this year's theme. The 2008 competition ran from January 7 through April 4, 2008. Nearly 1,400 Canadian entries were received and judged by the following panel: Marnie McBean, three-time Gold Medalist in rowing; Nicole Forrester, Canada's top-ranked female high jumper; Alicia Martell, children's author and editor; and representatives from the Canadian Olympic Committee and Visa. In addition to the four grand prize winners, eight second prize winners were selected and won official Olympic merchandise.

Since VOI was first launched internationally at the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Norway, 181 young artists from 49 countries have participated in the program. Over the past seven Olympic Games, VOI has seen more than one and a half million school children submit an original piece of art based on selected themes. Visit to find information on Canada's VOI competition and to view first and second prize artwork from this year and previous years.

Visa's Olympic Games Sponsorship

Visa began its Olympic Games sponsorship in 1986 and since then has sponsored five Olympic Games (Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens) and six Olympic Winter Games (Calgary, Albertville, Lillehammer, Nagano, Salt Lake City and Torino). For the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Visa continues its Olympic sponsorship role as a Worldwide TOP Partner and the exclusive payment card sponsor.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be held from August 8 to 24, 2008.

About Visa

Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

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