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Hudson’s Bay Unveils Official Parade Uniforms for Canadian Olympic Team at Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony

TORONTO, February 7, 2014 – The Canadian Olympic Team will walk onto the world stage today in a look that commands attention as they proudly unveil their official parade uniforms, designed by Hudson’s Bay, at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony.

 

Team Canada - Opening Ceremonies 2014


Inspired by Hudson’s Bay’s classic scarlet blanket, the all-red coat is accented with a black stripe around the hip line.  A star piece, the coat proudly features the Hudson’s Bay and Canadian Olympic Team crests and is accented with toggle style buttons.  The coat is layered on top of a striking black mock turtleneck and wool v-neck sweater for women, and a tailored white dress shirt, wool cardigan, and red and white striped tie for men.   The look is accessorized with the official 2014 red mittens that convey a strong “we can own the podium” message and a red, white and black pom pom toque with a bold CANADA wordmark.  Black bottoms complete the look.“When our athletes walk in the Parade of Nations as the Canadian Olympic Team, we want them each to feel proud and confident and to feel the tremendous support of an entire country,” says Hilary Kelley, VP of Design, Creative Director, Hudson’s Bay. “The Opening Ceremony look was designed to reflect who we are as a nation; it is both classic and modern and reflects tradition, elegance and strength.”

 

Team Canada - Opening Ceremonies 2014

 

Canadians and fans of Canada abroad can sport the Team’s Opening Ceremony look with Hudson’s Bay’s official replica collection.  The duffle coat is available for both men and women and retails for $275.  The pompom toque and the red mittens are also available for adults and children, with $3.33 from the sale of each pair of mittens going directly to the Canadian Olympic Foundation.   The Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team Collection can be purchased online at thebay.com and is available at all Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada.“Hudson’s Bay has once again delivered inspiring, stylish uniforms honouring our athletes’ commitment to Canada as they take part in the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony,” said Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee. “The colour blocking of red, white and black is quintessentially Canadian and the athletes will wear it with pride.” The Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic team consists of 221 athletes and 85 coaches.   Team members will each receive 38 items as a part of their uniform including jackets, pants, leisurewear and accessories.

 

Team Canada - Opening Ceremonies 2014

About Hudson’s Bay Company

Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), founded in 1670, is North America’s longest continually operated company. Today, HBC offers customers an unparalleled range of retailing categories and shopping experiences internationally. In Canada, HBC operates Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s largest department store with 90 full-line locations and one outlet store as well as thebay.com, unsurpassed in its fashion, beauty, home and accessory designers and brands. HBC also operates Home Outfitters, Canada’s largest home specialty superstore with 69 locations across the country.In the United States, HBC operates Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, renowned for its superlative designer collections and first-rate fashion expertise.  Saks Fifth Avenue comprises 41 full-line stores in 22 states, five international licensed stores, saks.com, 72 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores and saksoff5th.com. HBC also operates Lord & Taylor, a leading department store chain with 49 full-line store locations throughout the northeastern United States, in two major cities in the Midwest and in Boca Raton, Florida, four Lord & Taylor outlet locations and lordandtaylor.com. Hudson’s Bay Company banners provide stylish, quality merchandise with a dedicated focus on service excellence. Hudson’s Bay Company trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “HBC”.

About the Canadian Olympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic, Youth Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For news and information, visit the COC website at www.olympic.ca and find the team on both Facebook (Canadian Olympic Team) and Twitter (@CDNOlympicTeam).

Digital Nomads: Goodbye commute, hello world

Back in October, I took the leap of becoming a Digital Nomad and 2014 is the year this becomes a reality.

I watched this video made by oDesk today and it has inspired me once again to believing that it’s all possible.

Digital Nomads: Goodbye commute, hello world

My nomadic adventure began with a month-long trip to Costa Rica at the end of 2013. I had sold and donated all of my things and Costa Rica was the perfect place to unwind and leave my old life behind to be inspired by what life has to offer outside of an office.

I spent the month traveling around the country, exploring, photographing, learning Spanish, eating well and working out. It was truly an amazing five weeks that I often go back to in my mind when I start to have doubts about the path I’ve chosen and it brings renewed confidence.

After my return from Costa Rica, I began work on a new project and after MUCH hard work on the Olympic Spirit Kickstarter campaign, the adventure and travels will continue, thanks to my many generous supporters. In less than a week I fly to Europe, spend a few days with family and then 10 days from today I land in Sochi, Russia to capture the Olympic Spirit as the world celebrates their athletes! I can hardly believe it!

Through this project I will share the Olympic experience with my amazing Kickstarter backers and others through social media and this blog. Once the Games are over, the stories and images will be compiled into a book documenting the Olympic spirit and will be available for sale. I invite you to join me and share in the experience from wherever you are!

Napoleon Hill’s wrote what has become my mantra:

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

This project is living proof!!

With gratitude,
Mariska

People Are Awesome!

Throughout the Olympic Spirit Project I’ve seen generosity that I never knew existed. People are AWESOME! People I never expected to take an interest in what I’m doing have come out of nowhere and contributed to the project. People I haven’t seen or spoken to in years are supporting me beyond what I would have ever expected. And people I don’t even know are inspired by what I’m doing and have pledged their support and it has blown me away!

Whichever group you fall into, I say to you:

Thank You for being awesome!

 Some Examples of Awesomeness:

A corporate sponsor pledged a completely unexpected contribution to the project. Thank you Brandy’s Whistler!

A reporter from my local paper featured the project in the weekend newspaper.

An associate producer from CBC heard about my story and set up an interview with CBC Toronto’s Heather Hiscox for their CBC’s Road to the Olympics segment.

A group of Canadian volunteers offered me accommodations with their group in Adler, Russia at a cost that was far more reasonable than I was finding on my own.

A friend recommended an amazing travel agent who found me the perfect flights! Coincidentally, she booked all the flights for the Canadian Alpine and Snowboard teams, so I totally lucked out with someone who knows her stuff! (Contact me for her contact info, if you are looking for great service!)

I posted a message in a Facebook photography group this week that I was looking to borrow or rent some gear for the project and within 10 minutes I had a response from someone and had a lens in my hands within an hour!

And what has and continues to be the most amazing, are the people who are sharing the project on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and in their conversations with words of encouragement. Thank you all for sharing in this ambitious dream which is allowing me to live a life that inspires me! And THANK YOU for sharing the Olympic Spirit and making it a reality for me!

To everyone who has joined me on this adventure:
You are amazing and I am so grateful to have every one of you in my life!

With gratitude,
Mariska

CBC’s Road to the Olympics with the Olympic Spirit Project!

This morning I had my first ever television interview!

It was with Heather Hiscox of Toronto’s CBC News Now morning show, featured on CBC’s Road to the Olympics segment. Because of the 3-hour time difference, my alarm went off at 4:30am to be awake and ready for the 5:20am call. Here’s how it went:

The whole thing went so fast! I’ve been both excited and nervous about this interview for over a week, and waiting for my 5 minutes of fame felt like forever.  I called in via Skype and was on hold and listening to the show (I had no video on my end) for the longest 10 minutes of my life, and then Heather started talking to me and the next thing I knew, it was over.

Overall, I’m happy with how it went, despite a couple of verbal stumbles. After seeing the replay however, there are a few points I’d like to add.

The plan is to spark the Olympic Spirit back home while in Sochi. Those who will be in Sochi are driven to be there by their Olympic Spirit, which I will be there to document. But what I am really aiming to spark is the spirit back  in Canada and beyond! It’s challenging sometimes to get excited about a world event when all you hear about are the controversial issues and security threats. So I hope to spark the spirit in YOU from Sochi through the stories of my experiences and my images.

It’s time to put the focus back where it belongs: on the sports, the athletes and the fans.

I’m not saying that these other issues are not of concern to me, because they are. I am definitely aware of what’s happening and concerned but I’m also prepared to be cautious and safe. It’s not going to stop me from going and supporting our athletes and capturing the true Olympic spirit of the 2014 Winter Games.

I invite YOU to be a part of the excitement as well, through social media where I will be posting the images and stories throughout the experience. I’ll be posting to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as often as connectivity allows, so please be sure to follow along so you don’t miss any of the excitement. And of course, please share the excitement to grow that Olympic Spirit even more! (I will post the final edited images to Flickr as well.)

         

As of today, there are 10 days and 40% remaining to be raised on the Kickstarter.  Please pledge what you can to bring the Spirit to life.

For more information and to check out the great pledge rewards, please visit the The Olympic Spirit Project on Kickstarter.

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

 

Thank you all for the support, and I’d love to hear what you thought of the interview in the comments below!

8 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 8 Days

Last Tuesday I launched my Olympic Spirit Project Kickstarter campaign, and the past week has been a wild ride! I launched the campaign on January 14th and now 8 days later, thanks to so many incredible people, I have raised 37% of the funding goal, got one corporate sponsor on board (so far), have a local newspaper article coming out this week, and have an interview booked with CBC Toronto for next week!

Throughout this crazy journey, I’ve learned a LOT, and I wanted to share some of those things with you.

8 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 8 Days:

1. I have incredible friends and family.

I’m so grateful to all of you, who have stepped up to support me and this project. (I already knew you were all amazing, but just had to tell you again!) You have all been so generous with your pledges and sharing the project around and your support has me feeling confident that I will reach my goal of publishing an inspiring book!

2. How to craft a Kickstarter campaign.

Crowdfunding is a new experience for me. There is definitely an art to crafting a good crowdfunding campaign. I’ve done a lot of research and have learned and applied so much, and am continuing to learn as this experience continues.

3. How to promote a Kickstarter campaign.

I’m pretty good with social media, but things change dramatically when you are asking people to put their money into something. I’ve learned a lot about how to craft my emails, tweets, blogs and other social media posts to have the most impact on the reader and inspire them to get involved. This is an ongoing learning process, and I have by no means mastered it, but I’m a lot farther along than I was a week ago.

4. How to create a crowdfunding video.

My video is still in progress, but I’ve learned that it’s harder than it looks. As a photographer, I tend to be more comfortable behind the camera, so talking on camera will be new for me and will I’m sure require many takes before I get it right. Writing a good script and planning your message is key. I’ve had a lot of help  and feedback from the people around me and I am so grateful for your honest feedback and comments to help make my first ever video!

5. How to reach out to the media.

This week I secured two media outlets to tell my story. The Olympic Spirit Project will be featured in my hometown’s local newspaper this Friday, and then next week I will be doing a live interview with CBC Toronto’s Heather Hiscox. This has been the first time I’ve ever approached media on anything and will be my first television appearance. I’m pretty proud of the results so far, and I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous about the live interview…

 6. It’s all about ACTION!

I tend to get in my own way, and make excuses for why things are not progressing. Because this project has such a short timeline, the past week has been all about ACTION! And I’m seeing incredible results! I’ve realized that “done is better than perfect,” and it has made me so much more productive. You can always tweak things later, but if you don’t get it out there, no one will ever know what you’re up to and you will never move forward.

7. I really CAN work from anywhere.

It’s been a challenge to get my message out to people primarily over the web. I’m currently living in my small hometown of Duncan, BC, and it is a very different experience after the hustle and bustle of life in Vancouver. I don’t know many people here, so the in-person conversations have been mostly with the Safeway cashier and the barista. But, I’m managing to do it! The online impact of this project has brought me one step closer to location independence and have made me so much more confidence that I will soon be location independent and living a life that I love.

8. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

This is my new favourite quote and words to live by from Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich. I’ve been using the mantra, “Thoughts become things,” for a while now, but this one from Napoleon Hill is so much more inspiring to me. I thought it, I believed it, and now it is becoming a reality. I’ve just proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to! It’s an incredible feeling!

 

So there it is! It’s been a huge learning curve for me this past week and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon! I’m so excited to see what the next month brings to both me and this project! I’m on a roll and don’t intend on stopping!

What are some of the things you’ve learned and accomplished in the past week? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

And remember…

Napoleon Hill Quote

© 2013 Mariska Richters – Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

 

 

Thank You Brandy’s Whistler!

Sending out a HUGE thank you to Brandy’s Whistler for their generous support to the Olympic Spirit Project! Their contribution has brought the project to 33% of the funding goal!

Next time you’re in Whistler, check out Brandy’s, the best sports bar in town!

www.whistlersportsbar.com

Brandy's Sport Bar and Lounge, Whislter

 

And of course, thank you to ALL of my project backers as well! It’s because of YOUR support that this project is becoming a reality. Your encouragement is so amazing and appreciated more than you know!

We are much closer, but still a long way away from the target. This is now your project too! Please continue to share it with your friends and networks so we can reach our goal and bring the Olympic Spirit to life!

With Gratitude,
Mariska

A Message From a Backer

I received a message from one of my Olympic Spirit Project backers on Kickstarter and loved it so much, I wanted to share it. It’s from someone I don’t know, who randomly found my project.

I love the entrepreneurial spirit of this family and LOVE that I’ve inspired a young sports fan and entrepreneur to get involved with my project and with Kickstarter! It’s people and support like this that make projects like mine possible! I would love to see more of these creative ways of being inspiring our youth!

 

inspire_be_inspired“Hi Mariska, 

Thought I might let you know how it came about . I wanted to expose my four kids to Kickstarter, as a means of inspiring their entrepreneurial spirit, expose them to crowdfunding, and at very least give them an opportunity to support the arts.

I gave them each $40 as part of their Christmas. The kids are aged 17 to 28 and they all loved the idea. The youngest, a 17 year old, selected you and your project because he wanted to support a fellow Canadian and loved your posted work from the Vancouver Games (he’s also quite an avid photographer and sports nut and will be following the events you will be attending with interest). 

We’re all routing for you to make your funding target Mariska, and bring the project to life!!! Best of luck!”    

(The message has been slightly edited for privacy.)

I send huge gratitude out to you for getting involved, backing my project, and for exposing your kids to Kickstarter!

 

To see where the inspiration all stemmed from, please visit The Olympic Spirit Project on Kickstarter by clicking the button below.

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

 

Thank you for your support!

What’s In My Olympics Memory Box?

I opened my Olympics memory box this week and am now even more excited and inspired for the Olympic Spirit Project at the Sochi 2014 Olymipc Winter Games!

Here are a few of the item that I found:

Van2010-6190

The 2010 Olympics section from the Vancouver Sun from March 2, 2010.

My 2014 Olympics uniform for Sochi 2014 in Russia.
Van2010-6205

My BCMC media accreditation badge, official IPC (International Paralympic Committee) media accreditation badge, and my IPC photographer sleeve from Vancouver 2010.

Van2010-6212

Sochi 2014 media badge from Sochi House at Vancouver 2010, My True North Media House badge, House of Switzerland media badge, Holland House Press card, and Samsung media badge. All from Vancouver 2010.

Van2010-6228

Vancouver 2010 Ice Hockey and Speed Skating tickets, and London 2012 Athletics ticket.

Van2010-6236

My pin and memorabilia collection from Vancouver 2010, and a single pin from London 2012.

Van2010-6238

My Canada t-shirt that I wore at London 2012, and an awesome “eh!” t-shirt given to me to wear at Sochi 2014.

Van2010-6241

A mix of Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 clothing to wear as my Sochi 2014 fan uniform.

Van2010-6243

The Vancouver 2010 mascots! Quatchi, Miga, Mukmuk, and Sumi.

 

What’s This Kickstarter Thing?

I’ve recently launched my first Kickstarter campaign to support the creation and publication of my very first photography book! YAY! I’m so excited that after 2 days I’m already at 10% of my fundraising goal, but there is much work left to be done to raise the balance of the funding and I’ve had a few people ask me, “What’s this Kickstarter thing?” So here’s a quick rundown.

What's this Kickstarter thing?

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the collective effort of people to pool their money to support the efforts of other people. Crowdfunding is used to support a wide variety of activities, including creative projects, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, startup company funding, and more. My Olympic Spirit Project is an example of a creative project.

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are added to Kickstarter everyday. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen.

Are you guaranteed to get funding?

No. With Kickstarter, projects will only get funded if the total funding goal is reached. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding target, all backers’ credit cards are charged when the project reaches its deadline. If the project falls short, no one is charged and the project does not get funded.

Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

 

With the all-or-nothing model, it’s important to get the momentum of the campaign rolling early so that the campaign has a chance of getting on the “Staff Picks” page of the Kickstarter website. This allows the project to get more views within the crowdfunding community, and in turn more pledges.

Remember that your credit card does not get charged unless the project succeeds. Therefore your pledge is more important at the start than it is near the end of the funding deadline so that the momentum builds for the project. 

 

The Olympic Spirit ProjectWhat is the Olympic Spirit Project?

The Sochi 2014 Olympics have been labeled as the most controversial and most expensive Games of our time, and I feel that the Olympic spirit has been lost for many. Some are even boycotting the Games completely.

After experiencing the Olympic energy in Vancouver in 2010 as media and again in London in 2012 as a spectator, I am inspired to recreate that feeling in Sochi this February to support our athletes (and their competitors) as they compete in the biggest competition of their lives. The athletes have worked so hard to get to this point and it’s unfair to them not to support their efforts in what for most is a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country.

So I came up with The Olympic Spirit Project.

The goal of this project is to get on the ground in Sochi Russia for 10 days during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to photograph and document the Olympic spirit. I will attend both official Olympic and cultural events and photograph the different ways that cultures celebrate a win, or display their disappointment in a loss. The images I capture during my time in Sochi will be edited and compiled into the Olympic Spirit photo book, with a targeted publishing date of September 2014.

Because funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing, I need your help to get the momentum rolling on the funding campaign now. Every dollar counts! Two dollars, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, it all adds up! And please share the project with your friends and family to help spread the Olympic Spirit even further!

In exchange for your generous support, I’m offering some great rewards. From digital and hard cover copies of the finished book to the opportunity to join me at an official Olympic event during the project! And of course every backer will be acknowledged and thanked in the book itself on the Project Contributors page.

Please click the Kickstarter button below to pledge your support today!

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

 

I thank you for your generosity and support, and look forward to creating an amazing and inspiring book!

If you have any questions about either Kickstarter or the Olympic Spirit Project, please shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

Announcing the Olympic Spirit Project

As most of you know, I am working to get to Sochi in February to photograph the fan and cultural side of the 2014 Olympics. I launched a fundraising campaign a few weeks back, and have received a lot of feedback that this campaign did not really encompass my passions. I appreciate all of your honest feedback and have as a result created a new project that encompasses my passions for photography and the Olympics and is way more ME!

I’m very excited to share with you, “The Olympic Spirit Project.” – http://bit.ly/spirit2014

The Olympic Spirit Project on Kickstarter

Vancouver 2010 Men's Gold Medal Game

Vancouver 2010 Men's Gold Medal Hockey

 

What Is The Olympic Spirit Project?

I feel that with all the controversy surrounding the 2014 Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit has been somewhat lost. This is unfair to our Canadian athletes as well as their international competitors who have worked HARD to qualify for the biggest competition of their lives. They need our support! This project is geared at reviving the Olympic spirit and putting the attention back where it belongs: On the Athletes!

The goal of the Olympic Spirit Project is to capture images illustrating the Olympic Spirit through the eyes of different cultures from around the globe,  in Sochi during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. I will share some of the images and stories with you from Russia on my blog, and after the Games are over the images will be edited and compiled into a book, which will then be available for sale. The targeted publishing date is September 2014.

 

Vancouver 2010 - Men's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Gold Medal Team
Vancouver 2010 – Men’s Team Pursuit Speed Skating Gold Medal Team

 

Vancouver 2010 - Paralympic Alpine Skiing
Vancouver 2010 – Paralympic Alpine Skiing

 

Vancouver 2010 - Paralympic Medal Ceremony
Vancouver 2010 – Paralympic Medal Ceremony
 

What’s in it for you?

In return for your support, I am offering rewards from a hand written postcard from Russia to the opportunity to experience an official Olympic event with me at the Games. All backers will be acknowledged in the final printed book.

All Levels: Thank-You Postcard from Russia – All backers pledging $10 or more will receive a hand-written Postcard sent from Russia during the Olympic Games.

All Levels: Your Name Featured in the Book – All backers pledging to the project will acknowledged on the Project Contributors page in the final printed book.

$25 Level: 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project, and a digital copy of the finished book.

$85 Level: A digital copy of the finished book, a signed 5×7 print featuring an image from the project, and a 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project.

$150 Level: A digital copy of the finished book, 2 signed 8×10 prints featuring images from the project, and a 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project.

$350 Level: A hard cover copy of the finished book, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks.

$1000 Level: 2 signed hard cover copies if the finished book, a signed 11×14 print featuring an image from the project, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks.

$1500 Level (9 available): 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, a (used) official 2014 Olympic event ticket, a signed 11×14 print of an images from the project, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks. (there are

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Men’s and Ladies’ Team Pursuit Speed Skating event on February 21st, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Women’s Hockey Play-off Semi-Final Game on February 17th, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Men’s Hockey Play-off Quarter-Final Game on February 19th, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2500 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medal Men’s Hockey Game on February 22nd, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

All Levels: Karma points and huge gratitude from me! : )

How You Can Help

With your support this project will come to life. Click the Kickstarter button below for full project details and for an opportunity to contribute to rebuilding the Olympic Spirit for our athletes in Sochi this coming February.

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

THANK YOU for your support!