London 2012’s aim is to create a series of exciting and theatrical Victory Ceremonies that represent the UK and ensure that the athletes and their achievements sit at the heart of the Games.
There are 503 Victory Ceremonies in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and they form one of the most prestigious aspects of the Games. They are a chance for athletes to celebrate their success formally, and allow their home country to be united in celebration as the national anthem is played and the national flag raised.
At London 2012, the athletes and their achievements will be at the centre of the celebrations. The Victory Ceremonies will also champion the Paralympic values – courage, determination, inspiration and equality – while being unique to London 2012.
What happens in a Victory Ceremony?
A Victory Ceremony usually takes place soon after a medal event finishes. The athletes who came first, second and third stand on a podium, with the winner in the middle. Their names are called out and the medals and flowers are given to them by an official: gold for first place, silver for second and bronze for third. The flags of the athletes' countries are then raised, and the national anthem of the gold medallist’s nation is played.
London 2012 has worked with the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London and other leading designers to create the unique design of the royal purple podiums and costumes for Victory Ceremonies.
When designing the podiums, the team of RCA students – Gaetano Ling, Hong-Yeul Eom, Luc Fusaro, Heegun Koo and Yan Lu – used dynamic lines to represent the energy of the Games and athletes. Across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, around 40 podiums will be used in Victory Ceremonies, and 4,400 medal-winning athletes will stand on them to celebrate their success formally.
The ceremonial costumes will be worn by Games Maker volunteers in athlete and presenter escort roles, and flower and medal bearer roles. Thomas Crisp and Trine Hav Christensen’s elegant and dynamic designs represent London and its architecture with a modern twist, mixing Greek mythology as well as British heritage.
The hat worn by the presenter escorts – designed by former student Zara Gorman – is inspired by the architecture of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues combined with aspects of British tailoring and sportswear.
The victory bouquet has been designed by Jane Packer, an internationally renowned UK florist. The bouquet represents the vibrancy of the Games and the four sections hold a different variety of the rose, an iconic British flower. Each section is also divided with traditional herbs – mint, rosemary, English lavender and wheat. These British-grown ingredients are designed to provide an unusually eclectic fragrant mix.
The make-up which will be worn by all the athlete and presenter escorts and medal and flower bearers has been provided by Max Factor, part of Proctor & Gamble (P&G), Worldwide Olympic Partner. The simple look, using purple and gold shades, has been created by Max Factor award-winning make-up artist Caroline Barnes.
Games Makers make up the majority of the Victory Ceremonies staff – more than 500 are required to fulfil the ceremonies over all the venues. As part of the presentation party, Games Makers will take on the roles of presenter and athlete escorts, and medal and flower bearers, and will play a crucial role in celebrating the athletes’ achievements.
Members of the IOC and IPC have the right to present medals to the athletes during the Victory Ceremonies. The members represent every nation and sport, and the flowers are given to the athletes by representatives of the International Sport Federations.
At London 2012, flag-bearing responsibilities for the Victory Ceremonies will be with all three of the UK’s armed forces. They will be charged with hoisting every flag into position for these prestigious occasions.
Read about the medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games