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Rio 2016 logo designers deny plagiarism

The designers of the logo for the 2016 Rio Olympics insist any similarities to one from a U.S. foundation is a coincidence.

The designers defended their logo after Brazilian media noted similarities with the logo of the Telluride Foundation in Colorado.

The comparisons began shortly after the Olympic logo was unveiled before about 1 million people on New Year's Eve at Rio's Copacabana beach. Both logos depict figures embraced at the arms in a flowing motion.

The director of the Brazilian agency that created the logo said he had never seen the foundation's version. Fred Gelli told the GloboEsporte.com website the agency did extensive research to guarantee the design was unique.

"For some reason, we missed that one," Gelli said.

Gelli acknowledged a "similarity" with the foundation's logo, but said the broad concept of people embracing each other is not novel.

The Telluride Foundation says on its website that it promotes philanthropy and provides "grants and services to the community in support of arts, education, athletics and all charitable causes."

Gelli also dismissed similarities with the painting "The Dance" by Henri Matisse.

"The brand is radically different because it is tridimensional," Gelli said.

Gelli's Tatil agency entered the process to design the logo along with nearly 140 other competitors. A team of 15 national and international members of the organizing committee for Rio 2016 made the final decision a few months ago.

A giant TV screen set up on the sand at Copacabana beach beamed the logo to cheering spectators before a massive flag bearing the image was rolled out on top of the crowd.

Organizers say the logo is based on four concepts: contagious energy, harmonious diversity, exuberant nature and the Olympic spirit.

The Rio Olympics will be the first in South America.

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On the Net: http://www.telluridefoundation.org/