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Special Olympics Cauldron Will Inspire Athletes to Reach New Heights

February 21, 2024

The lighting of the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics is always one of the most exciting and emotional moments. It signifies the great achievement athletes have made in reaching the highest echelon of competition and it marks the start of five days of celebration, camaraderie and sportsmanship that participants will remember for the rest of their lives.

The Cauldron as the “Holder” of Hopes and Dreams

But the process of imagining and then bringing to life the Cauldron for each Games is a vital component of the experience that most of us never consider. Every Cauldron is representative of the unique mission and vision of each Games. In a sense, the Cauldron is the holder of all Special Olympics athletes’ hopes and dreams.

The TC Energy Cauldron Will Inspire Athletes to Reach New Heights

TC Energy and its 7,000 plus people are a vital part of modern life. They invest in communities and partner with neighbours, customers and governments to build the energy system of the future. The company is headquartered in Calgary, and when they found out the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games (SOCWG) would be held in their home city in 2024, it was a natural fit for them to become involved.

And very involved they are. François Poirier—TC Energy’s President and CEO—is one of the Games’ co-chairs. The company is a presenting sponsor of the Volunteer Program and a premier sponsor with the honour of designing the Cauldron.

TC Energy’s aim in supporting the Games is to create a legacy of inclusive change by promoting the spirit of sportsmanship and inclusion. They wanted the design of the Cauldron to embody the values of the Special Olympics, inspire athletes and celebrate the power of unity. They turned to their team of energy problem solvers for help.

TC Energy Employees from across Canada, United States and Mexico Accepted the Design Challenge

Employees from across TC Energy’s footprint (Canada, United States and Mexico) were challenged to form teams of three-to-six coworkers to lend their technical skills and creativity to design the one-of-a-kind Cauldron for Calgary 2024. And their people did not disappoint.

The teams presented their unique designs to a selection committee made up of TC Energy team members, including Poirier. The judges also included Poirier’s Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024 co-chair Cheryl Bernard, and Leonka Kaluha, one of five Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Athlete Ambassadors, and the designer of the artwork for the Cauldron at the 2019 Alberta Provincial Winter Games. The teams were judged based on many factors including creativity, sustainability requirements, Indigenous inclusion and TC Energy and Special Olympics branding.

“I’m proud of how our TC Energy employees united in support of the Games through the design of the cauldron. The cauldron is a powerful symbol of unity and inspiration that will uplift athletes, community members, and future generations to come,” said Poirier.

TC Energy was thrilled with the response from its employees. All submissions were incredibly impressive. After careful deliberation, the judging panel chose “Eagle’s Flight,” which was designed by a team of four employees with multi-disciplinary backgrounds from across the business—including an engineer, communications specialist, brand specialist and pipeline drafting coordinator.

Eagle’s Flight” celebrates the unifying Special Olympics Canada experience and its inspiring athletes. The team drew inspiration from the Indigenous Seven Grandfather Teachings, which form the foundation for living inclusively and respectfully, in combination with the Special Olympics’ vision of creating inclusive communities and opening hearts and minds through sport.

It evokes the image of a majestic mountain, with an eagle (which represents love in the Seven Grandfather Teachings and is said to have the closest relationship of all animals to the Creator) soaring above. Eagle’s Flight brightly represents how love can empower people to reach new heights and achieve their dreams. 

“To me, the design of this cauldron with the Eagle taking flight showed the power and strength of not only the eagle but also the same power and strength the athletes display as they train and compete,” said Kaluha.

Boom Construction brought TC Energy’s Design to Life

The Eagle’s Flight design team worked with Boom Construction and Tsuut’ina Nation partners to bring the design to life. BOOM is a service provider for TC Energy based out of Southern Alberta and has partnered with Tsuut’ina Nation to pursue project opportunities, create employment, subcontracting and training opportunities, and support community initiatives.

The Cauldron is constructed from a foundation of recycled TC Energy pipelines of different sizes. It contains 85 per cent recycled material by weight and stands approximately six feet high and four feet wide. The final product will be unveiled at the Games’ Opening Ceremony on Feb. 27 when a The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) and a “to be named” Special Olympics athlete will light the Cauldron with the “Flame of Hope™.” This will mark the start of the Games and serve to launch the athletes to their newest heights and accomplishments.

Don’t Miss A Moment of SOCWGThe Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024 will showcase the power of sport and allow the abilities and determination of the athletes to shine. The Games take place from Feb. 27 to March 2, with athletes competing in eight different sports. Over 4,000 visitors—including 1,250 athletes, coaches, friends, and family members—are anticipated during the five-day event.

Stay current with the Flame of Hope’s progress, the announcement of our cauldron lighters, and all of the Special Olympics Canada 2024 highlights. Follow us on social media:

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