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Special Olympics Dragon Unveiled

The Local Organizing Committee for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022 unveiled the global event's logo during a ceremony at the Kazan Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The logo carries rich symbolism and was developed in part with a competition for designers across Russia. The visual identity is based on winner Artemy 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.

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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. 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. 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 is scheduled to open on January 22, 2022, with 2,000 athletes from over 100 countries and 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.

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