Leo Obstbaum, Vanoc’s chief designer, dies suddenly > Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun

RT @Olympicreporter: Leo Obstbaum, Vanoc’s chief designer behind medals, mascots & look, dies suddenly http://bit.ly/18PHsb A young artist >

[original link dead, re-posted here respectfully for historical record]

Leo Obstbaum, the man largely credited with many of Vanoc’s iconic designs, died suddenly Thursday night.

Young, vibrant, intelligent and gifted, Obstbaum had been behind the design of the look of the games, the mascots and even the yet-to-be-unveiled Olympic and Paralympic medals. His photo says it all; mischievous, bright, a bit cocky and self-assured. Why would you not expect someone like that to wear a motorcycle jacket in his office?
On a day when Vanoc staff should have been focussing on next week’s looming IOC Coordination Commission visit, many were left devastated by Obstbaum’s death.

His is only the second in the Olympic family here since Vancouver bid for the Games; the first was Gary Greer, the blaster killed in 2006 in the Callaghan Valley in that horrific blasting accident. (He didn’t work directly for Vanoc. He was employed by a firm hired by the Ministry of Transportation to build the road into the Whistler Olympic Park.)

For such a young man – he was just 40 – Obstbaum left a huge legacy. Vanoc CEO John Furlong, who was visibly shaken, sent out this note to staff earlier today:

“Leo is everywhere you look, in every color, every texture, in every little bit of Vancouver 2010. Leo led and influenced the design of some of the most iconic pieces of the 2010 Winter Games. His spirit and daring inspiration has touched absolutely everything and because of him memories of the Games will live on for generations..a true enduring legacy of what went on here in Vancouver.”

Obstbaum also did multi-disciplinary art, some of which you can see on his own website here.

But if you want a more telling look at Obstbaum’s influence in the Olympic world, have a read of this interview he gave recently to Shift, an online magazine.

Vanoc said Obstbaum leaves a wife and young daughter.