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Anna Chromy ‘Olympic Spirit’ sculpture to play key part in post-Olympics East London regeneration

Czech sculptor Anna Chromy’s celebrated ‘Olympic Spirit’, epitomizing the spirit of the athletes competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is to be sold after the Games to help raise money for British athletes at the next Winter Olympics in Russia and re-generate the Olympic site in East London.

This is all part of a programme to try to make sure that something of substance remains in East London after the Games, to make the event into a legacy rather than a cost.

The sculpture, an 18-foot bronze made its first appearance in a major exhibition on Place Vendome in Paris in 2005. It was chosen by British Olympics Association chairman Lord Moynihan to be placed outside the BOA Centre in the athletes and coaches section of the Olympics Park in East London.

Moynihan says: “The sculpture now sitting outside London’s Olympic HQ looks magnificent against the background of the Olympic Venues on the horizon.”

The ‘Olympic Spirit’ will be offered for sale after the Games along with other Olympic properties, with a substantial part of the funds raised from the sale going to the British Olympics Association to help fund British Snowsport’s participation in the forthcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Anna Chromy was born in the Czech Republic in 1940, raised in Austria and now lives in France where she studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

She was the first European sculptor to be chosen for a major exhibition in Beijing (in 2009) and following the success of this and consequent growing following in China also exhibited in Fuchan last year. She has now been chosen as the first foreign artist to exhibit in the National Museum of China in Tiananmen Square at the end of this year.

She does much of her work in Italy, working with Carrara marble, from which she created another famous work ‘The Cloak of Conscience.’ This was carved from a 250-ton block of Carrara marble from the famous Michelangelo Quarry in Italy. It is 15 feet high and weighs 50 tons. For this Chromy became the first woman to be awarded the Premio Michelangelo. It stands permanently in Rome.

British Snowsports chief executive David Edwards says: It’s marvelous news that this inspiring work may be able to stay in London as part of the Olympics heritage and also that it will play a part in helping to fund our athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

So will any big British (or overseas corporate) step forward to help support British athletes, help in the regeneration of East London and support art?

Well they should, but it’s a tough and risk-averse world out there.

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