Visa Canada

Visa Canada

January 07, 2008 08:00 ET

On Your Mark, Get Set, Draw: Visa Olympics of the Imagination 2008 Launches in Canada

International art competition encourages children to explore Olympic values for chance to attend the Beijing Olympic Games

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 7, 2008) - Visa, a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Games, today announced the Canadian launch of the Visa Olympics of the Imagination (VOI) international children's art competition. Created for children ages 10 to 14, VOI encourages children to think creatively and explore the history and values of the Olympic Games. Four First Prize winners from Canada will be among the 30 children from 18 participating countries who will attend the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as guests of Visa.

With the support of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the VOI Canada competition runs from January 7 to April 4, 2008 and encourages children to create a piece of artwork that represents the "One World, One Dream" spirit of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Through a hand-drawn, original piece of artwork, entrants are asked to show how the Olympic Games can unite different cultures from around the world.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee is once again delighted to be involved in the VOI program," said Chris Rudge, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee. "Through a combination of art and learning, the VOI program encourages children to think about the history and ideals of the Olympic Games. We look forward to seeing some of the wonderful artwork submitted by Canadian entrants."

One talented artist from each region in Canada - Western Canada, Central Canada, Quebec and Atlantic Canada - will win a First Prize trip to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as a guest of Visa. These First Prize winners will also have a chance to compete with other VOI winners from around the world for one Grand Prize trip to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The VOI Canada competition is open to children aged 10 to 14 (as of April 4, 2008).

"Through this unique program, Canadian children can exercise their artistic creativity while exploring how different countries are united through the Olympic Games," said Brenda Woods, Vice President, Marketing, Visa Canada. "As a committed supporter of the Olympic Movement, we are delighted to once again give Canadian children the chance to be a part of the excitement of the Olympic Games through the VOI competition."

Winners of the VOI competition in Canada will be notified by April 30, 2008 and will be chosen on the basis of the artwork's originality and imagination, artistic merit and the accompanying descriptive paragraph and title of the piece. The four Canadian winners, along with a parent or legal guardian, will attend the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August 2008. While at the Games, they will attend Olympic Games events and activities, participate in cultural activities and have the opportunity to sightsee and explore Beijing.

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.

Full information on the VOI competition in Canada, including rules, official entry form, and artwork of previous winners, can be found at www.visa.ca/voi.

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. Up to 10,500 athletes from 204 nations will compete in 302 events in 28 different disciplines.

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 unsurpassed 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 www.corporate.visa.com

About the Canadian Olympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic movement, including Canada's participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For more information see the COC website: www.olympic.ca.

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