COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-After a nationwide search, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has selected artwork submitted by Professor Jamie Franki (Charlotte, N.C.) as the design that will grace the front of the newly created Order of Ikkos medallion. The medallion, which will be presented to the personal coaches of future U.S. Olympic/Paralympic medalists, represents the athlete's appreciation for the integral services the coach has provided. Following the medal award ceremony, the athlete will then present the coach of their choice with the medallion and the coach will be inducted into the Order of Ikkos. The Order of Ikkos gets its namesake from Ikkos of Tarentum, the first recorded Olympic coach in ancient Greece. Ikkos won the pentathlon at the 84th Olympiad in 444 B.C. and later became known for his coaching ability as he led two fellow Tarentine athletes to gold in the same event."The effort and dedication an Olympic coach must have in preparing elite athletes to compete on the world's biggest stage often goes unnoticed,"said Steve Roush, USOC Chief of Sports Performance."The Order of Ikkos medal officially recognizes the knowledge, hard work and personal commitment of those coaches whose athletes achieve the greatest success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Given on behalf of the athlete and the USOC, the medal serves as a token of appreciation for a job well done."Franki is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he coordinates the Illustration Program in the Department of Art and Art History. A former Master Designer in the United States Mint's Artistic Infusion Program, Franki designed the 2005 American Bison Nickel reverse and the face of the Jefferson 1800 Nickel in 2006. Greatly influenced by the artists of the Golden Age of American illustration, Franki strives to create narrative artwork that is rich in detail, expression and accessibility to a wide range of people."The design of the Order of Ikkos Medallion is both classical and contemporary, a reflection upon our past Olympic heritage and our determined efforts toward the future,"said Franki."The elements of the design were chosen and placed to create an interlocked balance as well as a circular eye movement-a tribute to the joined circles in the famed Olympic Rings."Expressing a desire to have a symbolic relevance that was universally applicable to all sports, Franki used the Olympic Torch as a symbol for the guidance a coach offers the athlete. His design commemorates the passing of thanks and recognition from athlete to coach. Franki utilized iconic symbols such as a flame modeled after the Statue of Liberty's torch, 50 stars for each of the 50 American states, and the U.S. Olympic Team logo to give the medallion a distinctly American flare. In contrast to these elements, he chose a type design with an archaic Greek style to pay homage to Ikkos and to link the Order to the roots of the ancient Olympic Movement."We are extremely excited about the medallion that Jamie Franki has designed,"said the USOC Manager of Coach Programs, Cathy Sellers."It is a vibrant design that will serve the U.S. Olympic Committee well into the future. We feel that the opportunity for the athlete to honor his or her coach with this medallion will be a special moment."The U.S. Olympic Committee sponsored a nationwide contest requesting the unique designs of artists from all walks of life and design styles, beginning in 2007. After an initial review of 24 entries, Franki's original artwork was selected out of three remaining finalist designs as the competition winner. His design for the Order of Ikkos Medallion will have its debut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. For his efforts, Franki will be awarded a prize of $2,008. About the USOC The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529.