By Duncan Mackay in Rio de Janeiro

Rio 2016_Paralympic_logo_launch_November_26_2011November 26 - Rio 2016 have unveiled the logo for the Paralympics during a special ceremony held at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, during which the world's largest floating Christmas tree was inaugurated.

More than 200,000 people gathered to watch the lighting of the tree in what is the third largest annual event in the city behind the Copacabana New Year's Eve celebration and the Rio Carnival.

The event was sponsored by Bradesco Seguros, who are a Tier One sponsor of Rio 2016 and was attended by Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee.

He was joined by Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016, and Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral and Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes. 

"This is an emblem that conveys passion and transformation from the perspective of the Paralympic Movement and its values: courage, determination, inspiration and equality," said Nuzman (pictured centre with Paes left and Cabral right)

Rio 2016_Paralympic_logo_launch_with_Carlos_Nuzman
"An emblem that not only can be seen but also experienced through the various senses, reaching out to a larger number of people in the same spirit of inclusion we want for the Games."

The logo was developed by Tatil Design de Ideias, the same Brazilian design agency that created the logo for the 2016 Olympics, the first time that the event will have been held in South America. 

They were chosen to design the logo after a five-month selection process which saw 139 local agencies compete for the honour.

The logo was first displayed at the end of the three-minute official video exhibition on the big screen in the event's main stage, facing the Rowing Stadium, and on other four big screens spread around Lagoa, which is due to stage the rowing and canoeing during the Olympics and Paralympics. 

The audience was taken by surprise when after the video presentation, a huge sculpture of the logo measuring four metres tall, three metres wide and weighing 160 kilogrammes, was lifted by hydraulic platform next to the stage to a thrilling soundtrack.

A explosion of fireworks then lit up the platform towards the Christmas tree to signal the official lighting.

"For me the emblem represents the heart of an athlete and as our athletes are the heart of the Paralympic Movement it is just perfect in highlighting what we are all about," said Sir Philip.

"Just like the great city of Rio, each time I look at the emblem I notice something new, no two views of it are the same.

"We talk a lot in the Paralympic Movement about spirit in motion and this pictures it perfectly."

Rio 2016_Paralympic_logo_launch_with_fireworks_2_November_26_2011
The emblem launch show started at 8pm when actor Edson Celulari, the event's master of ceremonies, got up on stage and announced the performance of dance company Nos da Dança.

The audience watched a performance in four acts with each depicting a Paralympic sport of athletics, wheelchair basketball, sailing and wheelchair fencing.

Two of the show's four lead dancers, who played Paralympic athletes, are wheelchair users and the third one is an amputee.

The three dancers are also members of the dance group at the disabled association of Rio's neighbor city Niteroi and were especially selected for this performance.

The only one among the lead dancers that had no disability was blindfolded to play a blind sprinter.

After the logo launch show, guests and media were able to experience a 3D performance of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games logo.

A polyurethane sculpture that went through a long process of 3D printing was fitted with light sensors that activate its movement and sound when touched.

The idea of a 3D, multisensory experience comes from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games logo which was unveiled in December last year during the New Year's Eve celebration on Copacabana Beach.

That logo was also presented in a 3D version as a live sculpture of light and movement.

In the lead up to 2016, the sensory experience with the logo's sculpture will be taken across of Brazil and appear in special Rio 2016 events.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
June 2011:
Judging Panel meets to select the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games emblem
May 2011: Rio 2016 Olympic logo designer chosen to create Paralympic brand