The logo carries rich symbolism and was developed in part with a competition for designers across Russia. The visual identity is based on winner Artemiy Lebedev’s concept: Zilant—a mythical dragon creature and symbol of the city of Kazan—hugs a stylized tulip native to the Tatarstan region and serves as a representation of the Volga River. The depiction of Zilant hugging the logo is emblematic of friendship, hospitality, and joy.
At the center of the logo, five figures fly in a circle to represent the global Special Olympics movement. Around the flying figures is the Volga, the largest river in Europe, on the banks of which Kazan stands. Mythical dragon Zilant encircles the logo as he protects and welcomes all participants and guests of the Games.
“We believe that such a colorful logo and mascot will catch the eye of any person,” said Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia. “It draws attention to the goal of Special Olympics Russia: to develop a society of inclusion, justice and equal opportunity for everyone regardless of ability.”
“We are very proud that symbols of Kazan became the official mascot of the Games,” said Vladimir Leonov, Head of the Ministry of Sport in Tatarstan state. “Zilant is not like other dragons. He is friendly and casual, and he adds brightness, soul and variety to the Special Olympics World Winter Games.”
The livestreamed event featured the logo projected onto the Kazan Kremlin during a concert with mezzo soprano singer Liza Novikova and Russian-Ukranian composer Igor Krutoy. Liza (Elizaveta) Novikova has an intellectual disability and a YouTube channel where she has developed a fan base including many fellow professional opera singers. She regularly performs concerts in her home city Saint Petersburg. Liza performed a composition from Italian opera Ulisse about focusing on the journey instead of the destination. Igor Krutoy is a Ukranian and Russian music composer, performer, producer, and musical promoter. He organizes the New Wave competition for young performers of popular music.
Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022 open on 22 January 2022, and 2,000 athletes from over 100 countries with the support of 3,000 volunteers. Kazan is regarded as the unofficial sports capital of Russia, and has the sports facilities, infrastructure, and volunteer base to hold world-class competitions.
Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners will have the opportunity to compete in seven sports at the World Winter Games Kazan 2022: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating and snowshoeing.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year.
The Special Olympics World Games are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, and are broadcast worldwide by ESPN, the Special Olympic Movement's official television and radio broadcasting partner. The previous World Winter Games were held in 2017 in Austria.
Learn more: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and blog on Medium. More information on www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Russia
Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programs in the global Special Olympics movement. In Russia, around 130,000 people with intellectual disabilities are involved in physical education and about 5,000 physical culture events of the municipal, regional and all Russian levels are held annually under the Special Olympics Russia program. Currently there are Special Olympics regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in international tournaments annually in the Special Olympics Russia program with athletes occupying various leadership positions.
Special Olympics provides sports training throughout the year in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Training of future Special Olympics participants has already started around Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities can join a team in their region on the website: https://specialolympics.ru/programs.