Olympic Medalist Makes History

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For the first time in Olympic history the games partnered with a luxury jewelry company as one of the sponsors of the world competitions. Birks & Mayors, Canada's iconic jewelry company, nearly as old as the country it has sprung from, has proved itself a Golden choice for this partnership.

Birks & Mayors,  along with Tiffany's, has been rated #1 by the internationally recognized Earthworks organization for their adherence to the Golden Rules, a set of social, environmental, and human rights principles that are part of the No Dirty Gold campaign which guides more responsible and ethically sourced gold production. "Responsible is beautiful" is their motto and the reasoning behind their multiple programs to give back to the environment and the community.

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Birks & Mayors, a "world-class brand with heart," has done more than simply gift 42,000 pieces of fine jewelry to the Olympic family, they have also stepped forward with designs commemorating the games, from charm bracelets fashioned with 3D replicas of the Olympic mascots, to pendants inspired by the Four Host First Nations artistic symbols, to a complete line of earrings, pendants and bracelets designed by Brand Ambassador and Olympic Silver Medalist, Canadian Jenn Heil.

Heil was asked by Birks & Mayors to not only be the brand ambassador for the Olympic games but also to design a line of jewelry. She chose to use the five rings of the Olympics as her design motif. Five percent of the proceeds from these pieces are donated to the Canadian Olympic Committee to benefit the Olympics and Paralympics.

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"Everyone at Birks & Mayors have been so behind me. Thanks to Birks for trusting me and giving me carte blanche when it came to designing the Olympic-inspired jewelry designs."

She explained that the five rings, each with a distinctive demarcation imprinted on the silver rings, symbolize:

1. Dream  - "It's important that we dream big and that we go after our dreams."
2. Focus - the design motif is like "a target."
3. Team - to symbolize that a great achievement such as the Olympics are a "team effort"
4. Courage - "It takes a lot of courage to go after our own dreams, carrying with us our own values."
5. Joy - "I constantly have this bubbling up feeling of joy with everything I do. That feeling of joy needs to come with me everywhere I go and with everything I do."

Heil spoke to an assembled crowd of journalists and dignitaries recently on a bright Vancouver morning.

Mr. Thomas Andruskevich, President and CEO of Birks & Mayors, said to Heil, "You not only won the Medal, you won the hearts of all Canadians."

The Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of State Sport & 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games, said, "The relationship we've had with Birks is amazing. They've been very involved in the torch celebration. Fifteen million Canadians came out at some point along the torch relay to welcome it here in Canada. Birks made the commemorative plaques that now mark the route all across our country." He also had nothing but great esteem for Heil, of whom he said, "A more genuine human being as you'd ever like to meet."

Heil's values match those of the iconic Birk's: playful, stylish, fluid fun. And ethical. In 2003 Birks subscribed to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a commitment to the long-term sustainability of Canada's Boreal region. In addition, their Mammoth Tusk Gold program, "includes partnering with the local mining community and respecting their right to engage, with self determination, in every aspect of the mining operation.  This initiative is not only a pledge but a certified operational business practice unique to Birks."

For More Information About the Green Gold Standard, Read Here.

In addition, Canada's North West Territories are the world's third largest producer of rough-cut diamonds. They are clean diamonds, as opposed to much of Africa's "blood diamonds." In 2008 over $2 billion diamonds were produced from the region.  Read More Here about North West Territory Diamonds.

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Green Girl Makes Good

CONGRATULATIONS!!  Janine Johnson, founder of GreenWave Foundation, social entrepreneur and featured Green Blog Network writer, just got hitched.', is Crystal Method's Ken Jordan, recently featured by Janine in these pages for his Grammy Nom 2010.

And This is how they do it...

Crystal Method @ Control LA: Proposal from Dillon Morris on Vimeo.



Canada Owns The Podium

 Jenn Heil, Vancouver 2010, Olympic Silver Medalist, Photo Courtesy BCMC

"And while the pursuit of athletic excellence is the point, the Olympics are  a celebration of the fundamental aspects that unite people."  - P.M. Stephen Harper

Sustainability is a concept that has wide applications.  Presently you often hear it used in the context of environmental programs. However, "sustainability" can be applied to a wider band of disciplines, such as sports. Here in Canada, at the 2010 Olympics, the idea of sustainable podium performances is what defines their Own The Podium program.


Jenn Heil, the Canadian Team's first claimer of Olympic metal, stated consistently that "Own The Podium really gives us the support to win the medal for Team Canada."  Heil gleefully announced at a February 14th press conference that "Canada's medal train has now left the station!"  She will be awarded the Silver at this evening's first 2010 Olympic Games medal ceremony for her mogul skiing performance at last night's Cypress Hill competition. Follow the Canadian Team on Twitter: COT_ALL_UPDATES.

Own the Podium is an innovative and collaborative initiative without precedent in Canadian sport. It was created to bring together the key parties involved in leading and funding excellence in Canadian sport, with specific emphasis on achieving excellence at Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.


 Jenn Heil, Vancouver 2010, Olympic Silver Medalist, Photo Courtesy BCMC


Kristi Richards, also an Olympic Contender, and the 2007 World Champion for women's moguls, has put her momentum behind sustaining athletes by starting her own "Supporting The Dream Legacy Fund."  She explained that her hometown of Summerland, B.C. stood so strongly behind her while she developed as an athlete that she decided to start a foundation which has the kids fundraising for themselves. "Through the Adopt An Athlete program, I actually turned it back around for the kids. I help them fundraise and then the funds go back to develop them as athletes." Her program is known as the I Can Be Legacy Fund. She showed true Olympian sportsmanship, taking her competitive crash in stride and acknowledging that it allowed her "a second start. I got to get the crowd excited again."  She's also a supporter of the 1 Step Foundation, a sports oriented environmental foundation.

On this Valentine's Day 2010, love is in the air. Love for team, love for country and love for the competitive spirit of athletes,... that spirit that pushes us, as the human race to achieve unprecedented excellence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invested a personal presence to these historic winter games. He has shown up at the Olympic Village to galvanize his team to win gold and bring home medals for Canada in 2010; he also "waited for about 10 minutes in the rain, with his daughter" to congratulate Jenn Heil on her win, she said, the heartfelt appreciation apparent on the athlete's face.

Appreciation, recognition and support are all ingredients that form the alchemy of sustainability.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Mrs. Laureen Harper, along with the Right Honorable Michaellle Jean, Governor General of Canada, whose official duty it was to open the Olympic Games of 2010 in Vancouver,  hosted heads of state at an Olympic Reception just prior to the opening ceremonies in downtown Vancouver Feb. 12th.

Faster, Better, Higher...than has ever been attained by human beings before... is what these assembled Olympians, from across the globe, are here to achieve, the Prime Minister reminded the gathering at the special reception hosted in the city's downtown Fairmont Hotel.  Just below the second story windows, a crowd of several hundred protesters to the games had gathered just prior to Opening Ceremonies. Thousands more, all suporters of the games,  jammed the streets, decked out in Canadian flags, Olympic Gear, their country's colors and maple leafs on their way to watch live or view on humongous outdoor/indoor screens peppered across the city,  the Opening Ceremonies to the games.

Opening Ceremonies, the first ever to be held indoors, were a spectacle, as in the Francophone take on the word, "Spectacular."

Dignitaries on hand included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and V.P. Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden. Dignitaries and representatives from other countries in attendance included Belarusse, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, France, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, USA, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, Cayman.

Canada's P.M. Stephen Harper welcomed the international delegation to "one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world," speaking in both French and English.

He described the 5500 Olympic athletes as a "colorful procession that showcases how easily disparity can be swallowed up by a sporting event."

He continued by saying, "And while the pursuit of athletic excellence is the point, the Olympics are  a celebration of the fundamental aspects that unite people."

He cited the feel-good example, being used concurrently in a running Visa commercial, of the Turin Games' Sarah Renner who broke her ski pole and was then aided by the Norwegian Olympic coach who sprang forward  to lend her his. This type of sportsmanship is what sports should be all about, he concluded.

The somberness of the day's events, however, were not to be ignored.

"There are also moments that break your heart - such as today's death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, Georgia's Luge athlete's death. These athletes live the Faster, Better, Higher credo, meaning Faster, Better, Higher than has ever been attained by human beings before. These aspirations, he said, come at certain costs."

Canada's Harper ended his greeting to his international guests by observing a minute of silence in respect for the Georgian Athlete.

Governor General:  "Thank you so much for standing together with Canadians.The Olympics are a celebration of solidarity among all peoples. To honor the best in all of us. "

Right Honorable Michaellle Jean, Governor General of Canada also spoke first in French and then in English when she told her guests that "The world is yearning for change, the kind of change to uplift us. The kind of change with which everyone everywhere can achieve their highest potential. The Olympic flame was received and greeted with so much fellowship and community." she noted.  "Humanity is linked in a cosmic circle of interdependence, with the shared values of:  peace, inclusion, solidarity all at the core of Olympic values."

These values have been expressed in more than words.  For the first time in Olympic history a third brand, the brand of the Four Host Nations Society, in addition to  the IOC and the host city of Vancouver - has been allowed official Olympic communications.

Shawn Atleo


For Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, current national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, this is significantly meaningful. "These games are about sports, arts and our culture. It's about bringing it all together and putting it out there for the world to see. This is what these Winter Games are all about for us."  He spoke to guests gathered at a fashion show celebrating First Nations fashion designers Dorothy Grant, Pamela Baker and Angela DeMontigny on February 13th just as Jenn Heil was winning silver for her country.

Sophie Pierre, Chief Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission, commented that seeing the Opening Ceremonies to the 2010 Olympics were once-in-a-lifetime memorable. "They gave us all a drum, drumstick, a battery-powered candle and white cape as we entered B.C. Place. All 55,000 of us. It's how they created the effect of snow and ice as a backdrop for the ceremonies," she explained, adding that the audience participation was unprecedented. A friend and guest of Dorothy Grant's at her fashion show, she remarked that she wondered when will we see a male First Nations fashion designer?"

During this hyper-competitive time, when countries from around the world are assembled to display the zenith performances of their athletes, Canada once again displayed its quality for compassion when the crowd of Maple-leaf-bearers began to applaud for U.S.'s Hannah Kearney who took gold this round after finishing 22nd in Turin.

***It is estimated that 24 million Canadians watched the Opening Ceremonies.  In a country whose population totals just over 30 Million, that's enormous solidarity!  More Info at CTV



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