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Member Designs Poster for 2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team

March 25, 2008, 12 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25 2008) USA Triathlon member Judge Michael E. Jones has used his artistic skills to create a collectible poster for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.

Jones will be holding a poster signing during the weekend festivities at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Triathlon in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in April.

Jones, from Pelham, N.H., is a trial court judge and university professor teaching sports and entertainment law. He is also the author of two books on legal aspects of sports industry. He served as Chief Judge, Competition Jury for 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials and has been named to the jury for this year’s Trials.
As an athlete, Jones has won numerous world and national championships in a variety of sports. He was an Olympic Trials qualifier in 1972 and is a past medalist in the 5000 meters at the Penn Relays. He has won two USA Triathlon Sprint Triathlon Age Group National Championships and has never finished outside of top 10 at the ITU Triathlon Age Group World Championship. He is also a five-time ITU Aquathlon Age Group World Champion.
As an artist, Jones’s works are featured in an exhibit catalog: "Michael E. Jones: Profile of a Painter." His works have been on display in numerous museums throughout the world including the Olympic Museum (Switzerland), Sports Museum (Boston), Museum of Fine Arts (Cape Cod), among others. He has been described as a "truly outstanding artist" by the Boston Globe, while Art New England magazine called Jones "a very interesting person who seems to have integrated a surprising array of life passions into an enthusiastic, optimistic success." His work frequently appears on PBS television cooking show sets.

He also created the first U.S. Olympic Triathlon poster for the Athens Games in 2004.


This poster seeks to blend traditional Chinese painting principles with modern art. It has not been an easy process for a western trained artist to fully understand the orientations of Chinese cultural painting. The Chinese ask: “How can one be the father of painting without reading ten thousand books and traveling ten thousand miles?” I did my best to follow this approach by viewing Chinese art displayed in some of the world’s leading museums, speaking to Chinese art historians, and reading literature on how to understand the philosophy, techniques and history of Chinese art.

There have been periods of western art where painting was a handmaid of religion, or where the personal ego of the artist was exemplified in expressionism, romanticism or surrealism, or where art became merely an imitation of its subject. Contrast this perspective with the Chinese notion that art is the “wedding of spirit and matter.” In other words a painting about the sport of triathlon must capture the essential spirit of participating in a triathlon.

There are two basic modes of expression: words and images. Chinese painters from the past frequently felt compelled to inscribe poetry on their paintings. I elected to follow this approach by working an inspirational poem into this poster. The poem also serves as an important source for the symbolic lines, shapes, colors and calligraphy depicting the three sports of a triathlon.  

The fleeting glimpse of a triathlete swimming, biking and running could never reveal all of the effort and training required from our Olympic competitors. Yet, the essential feeling and meaning of “being” a triathlete is hopefully captured by the poster’s poetry and visual imagery. The color red is meant to excite. The color black is meant to calm. A triathlete competes in harmony with nature. The birds in flight signify good fortune for all the competitors in Beijing.

The 150 limited edition posters are printed on Epsom Textured Fine Art paper. The original oil painting on canvas from which the posters were reproduced measures 40” by 30”.  In keeping with the essential spirit of this official USA Olympic Triathlon Team poster authorized by the U.S.O.C. for the 2008 Olympic Games I have signed the poster two ways: my traditional western name and a name given to me by a Chinese artist that means “centered and balanced,” “thoughtful” and “full of heart.” I will try to continue to live by the body and spirit of these character words.

USA Triathlon member Judge Michael E. Jones has used his artistic skills to create a collectible poster for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team.

Triathlete and Judge Michael E. Jones 2008