BVIOC secures IOC approval for Territorial Song to be played at Olympic Games and other institutional events

British Virgin Islands Kyron Mcmaster won the men’s 400m hurdles final in a time of 48.25 seconds during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 12, 2018. It was the Virgin Islands’ first medal at a Commonwealth Games and was the impetus for the BVI Olympic Committee’s request to have the Territorial Song, “Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands” registered by the International Olympic Committee to be played at sporting events rather than the National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”. The IOC confirmed the change in May 2020. .Photo credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Marking another historic moment in sports for the Virgin Islands, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) received approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Territorial Song, “Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” to be played at future editions of the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games and other institutional events and official activities of the IOC and its Affiliated Entities. The permission was confirmed by the IOC via email sent on May 7, 2020 after the BVIOC started the process for approval in 2018.

“The BVIOC is exceptionally proud to attain this milestone not just for our nation but for our athletes, their coaches, parents and supporters,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The motivation and emotion that is tied up in representing your country at a major competition can’t be underestimated. Hearing your national song playing as you enter an arena or when you stand on the podium enhances the sense of achievement and pride and underscores all the sacrifices, time and effort that athletes, teams and their support base put in to qualify and compete.”

Prior to this date, the national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, was played at major regional and international competitions and events during opening, closing and medal ceremonies to acknowledge the participation and podium finishes of the VI’s athletes and teams.

The BVIOC launched the process for approval at the urging of the former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr. Myron Walwyn who enquired about the possibility after Mr. Kyron McMaster’s historic gold medal win in the 400m Hurdles on April 12, 2018 at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The emotional occasion was made all the more poignant for it happening just 6 months after the devastation wreaked in the VI by Hurricane Irma and the tragic passing of McMaster’s mentor and national track and field coach, Mr. Xavier “Dag” Samuels. At that time, it became clear that the Territorial Song, which speaks to the VI’s national pride and identity, would have been the ideal accompaniment to the flag raising and medal ceremony.

Further noting that the VI was one of the few nations that did not have its national song approved to be played at major sporting events, Penn made the inquiries and acted on the requirements to change the anthem registered with the IOC from the National Anthem to the Territorial Song.

The initiative was closely followed and encouraged by Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, the current Minister for Education and Culture, and the BVIOC was able to secure the support required from the Government of the Virgin Islands to initiate the official request. The BVIOC worked with the Ministry of Education and Culture to “be duly authorized and/or licensed to use and to authorise and/or sublicense the use of the Territorial Song,” as set out in the IOC’s National Anthem Authorisation document.

“Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” originally was composed in 2012 by Virgin Islanders, Ms. Ayana Hull and her brother, Mr. Kareem Nelson Hull in response to a competition for a Territorial Song launched by Walwyn, the then Minister for Education and Culture. The song, which was originally arranged by Mr. Howard John, was officially adopted as the Territorial Song by resolution of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on July 24, 2012. As a British Overseas Territory “God Save the Queen” is the VI’s official national anthem.

The rousing, 80-second, orchestral version of the Territorial Song, requested by the BVIOC and approved by the Ministry for use by the IOC, was arranged by Mr. Alton Bertie, an Elmore Stoutt High School alumnus who graduated in the field of Film Scoring and Song Writing from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.

Click to listen to the score for the Territorial Song by Mr. Alton Bertie.

Olympic Channel to launch on 21 August 2016

2016-07-27-OC-thumbnailThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the launch date for its ground-breaking new media destination, the Olympic Channel, where fans can experience the power of sport and the Olympic Movement all year round.

Starting Sunday 21 August, after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the Olympic Channel platform will be available worldwide via a mobile app for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.

In addition, athletes and fans can follow the Olympic Channel on its newly launched social media handles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and sign up for Olympic Channel updates at olympicchannel.com.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The launch of the Olympic Channel on 21st August is the start of an exciting new journey to connect the worldwide audience with the Olympic Movement all year round. Fans will be able to follow sports, athletes and the stories behind the Olympic Games. The Olympic Channel will inspire us all and reach out to new generations of athletes and fans.”

With the goal of providing a new way to engage young people, fans and new audiences in the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Channel is a free platform that will present original programming, live sports events, news and highlights offering additional exposure for sports and athletes all year round. Olympic Channel original programming will include both short-form and long-form content, focusing on elite athletes, their quest for success and sport around the world.

Designed for a global audience, the Olympic Channel digital platform will showcase content from around the world, and will initially be offered in English. Additional features at launch will include fantastic content as video on demand, as well as individual sport pages within a user-friendly and mobile-responsive interface, subtitled in nine different languages.

The Olympic Channel includes an option to register for a richer and more personalised experience, where users can follow their favourite athletes, teams, sports and countries to receive an individually-tailored content selection. The dynamic environment also allows videos to be easily shared across social media, and encourages users to regularly interact with the Olympic Movement.

After the launch of the global digital product in August, the Olympic Channel intends to foster partnerships with other Olympic stakeholders, including rights-holding broadcasters and National Olympic Committees to develop localised versions of the Olympic Channel. Localised versions will offer language-specific user experiences on digital platforms, and will also include linear television programming options.