Students celebrate the spirit of sport

Seven-year-old Hope Scott points to her handiwork at the unveiling of the Spirit of Sport Legacy Art Project at the Langley Events Centre Monday evening.

The Olympic Games draw thousands of competitors in a number of disciplines. From skating to skiing and bobsleigh to biathlon, the competitors will have spent years honing their skills to reach the Winter Games in Vancouver. Watched by an estimated 1.5 billion viewers, the athletes will put on a dazzling display of stamina and steel, grit and guts.

This is what the competition is all about.

For hundreds of Langley students, however, the Olympics sports are all about having fun.

A large banner, unfurled during the second period of the Russia vs Slovakia women’s hockey game on Feb. 8 at the Langley Events Centre, depicts sports from the eyes of children. It’s all very jolly.

The banner is the Spirit of Sport Legacy Art Project. Four feet high and 40 feet long, it features the art of more than 450 Langley elementary school children. Created by Township of Langley graphic artist Brad Johnson, the piece captures the children’s enthusiasm for sport and the positive role it plays in their lives.

Kerry Querns of the Langley School District and Councillor Jordan Bateman co-ordinated the project in which the students picked a sport they liked and put their thoughts on paper.

“Every one of them had a happy face. They were thinking of the fun side of sport,” Johnson said.

The students were given a letter size piece of paper for their drawings. Johnson then scanned the 600 images into Photoshop and, when the necessary manipulation was completed, the finished images were put on five 4 x 8 vinyl panels. They now hang on the north wall of the LEC concourse, and commemorate the day the Olympic Torch came to Langley.

“This was a lot of fun to put together,” said Johnson, who volunteered 80 hours of his time to the project.

“There is something so innocent about kids’ drawings that you can’t capture as an adult,” he said.

A sports enthusiast, coach and father, Johnson said his children Alixandra and Aydan often create sports-related art for him.

“As a coach myself, my emphasis has always been to just have fun, and I can see that in these drawings,” he said. “There is such energy in them.”