It is a growing Canadian tradition for athletes who compete in the Olympics to get a tattoo to commemorate it.
Vancouver swimmer Brent Hayden has Chinese writing tattooed on his right arm and a superman tattoo on his chest. Many other swimmers have small Canadian flags over their hearts, or Olympic rings.
With this in mind Thomas Lockhart of West Coast Tattoo in Vancouver has designed more than 200 tattoos to commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I know athletes will come in, I know they will,” he said adding that colleagues at the Sydney 2000 Summer Games were very busy with Olympic tattoos.
He predicts that the Games will inspire thousands of athletes, residents and visitors to get a commemorative tattoo.
“People aren’t going to want to come in here and get eagles and panthers,” said Lockhart, who is also a competitive pistol shooter.
“They want something that has something to do with the Olympics. …Athletes are very superstitious people and a lot of them already have tattoos. It is like a talisman.”
One of Lockhart’s favourite Olympic designs uses Miga, a 2010 mascot sea-bear; another is a stylized maple leaf with the Olympic rings. Go to www.thomaslockhart.com to see more designs.
Lockhart, who was a candidate to be Parks Board Commissioner in Vancouver, admits that he is likely using images that are trademarked by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC). But, he said, “If I get a call from VANOC… I am going to keep doing it anyway.
“Tattoos have been around long before the Olympics ever started. What can they do? They can’t take a tattoo off one of my customers.”
For its part VANOC said currently it considers the tattoos as art and does not have any problem with people getting the tattoos or giving them.
Lockhart is offering to tattoo any Olympic medalist with the tattoo of their choice, for free, as a lasting memento of their achievement and a lifelong reminder of Vancouver.
The tattoos will likely range in price between $50 and $100.
He was inspired to create the 2010 designs after a visit to the 2008 Summer Games host city Beijing last year.
Lockhart, an established artist with an international reputation, also acts as a tattoo technical consultant for film and television. He has also been sought out by Hollywood stars, including actors Jodie Foster and Christina Ricci, for tattoos.