Visa and U.S. Olympic Team Hopefuls Encourage America's Youth to Play Every Day

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At the Visa Olympic Media Summit, Visa introduced its team of athletes for the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, extended its ongoing commitment to the Partnership for Play Every Day, and unveiled its integrated marketing campaign for the Games.

For America's kids, the time to play is today

Visa, a Worldwide Olympic Partner for more than two decades, today introduced its team of athletes for the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Visa Olympic Media Summit in New York City. During the event, Visa and its family of athletes extended their ongoing commitment to the Partnership for Play Every Day - an effort to increase and improve the spaces where America's youth can play. Visa also unveiled its integrated marketing campaign for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

"For America's kids, the time to play is today," said Olympic and World Champion swimmer Michael Phelps. "We need everyone's help in providing all kids with access to safe and well-equipped places where they can exercise, have fun and maybe even pursue their own Olympic dreams."

The Partnership for Play Every Day is bringing together nonprofits, businesses and government agencies to increase the number of settings where kids can play and ensure that all children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

"As a longtime Olympic sponsor, we're committed to empowering current and future Olympic team hopefuls to reach for and achieve their dreams," said Michael Lynch, head of global sponsorship marketing, Visa Inc. "We believe in the Play Every Day call to action and saw an opportunity to involve our Olympic family in an initiative that addresses a growing health issue and will get more kids participating in Olympic sports."

Visa's Olympic ambassadors today presented a donation to New York City Parks and Recreation to purchase equipment and improve the quality of instruction for youth programs. Since August 2007, Visa has also provided jump-start grants to Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

Since 1986, Visa has contributed more than $14 million to U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team hopefuls. Visa empowers its athletes to achieve their dreams by providing financial support, life skills training and valuable marketing exposure.

Visa's Gold Medal Athletes for the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games are Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff (swimming), Paul Hamm and Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Allyson Felix, Dwight Phillips and Bryan Clay (track and field), Kerri Walsh and Mike Lambert (beach volleyball), Bubba Harris (BMX Supercross), Steven Lopez (taekwondo) and Aly Wagner (soccer); as well as Paralympic champions Marlon Shirley and Cheri Blauwet (track and field), and Erin Popovich (swimming). Collectively, the group has won 39 Olympic and Paralympic medals.

In April 2007, Visa partnered with Phelps and Hoff on the Visa Friendship Lanes tour of China, which included local school appearances, Special Olympics clinics and visits with Visa Olympic staff in Beijing and Shanghai.

Visa is a proud sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and several National Governing Bodies, including USA Track & Field (USATF), USA Gymnastics (USAG), USA Swimming, U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Visa is a proud sponsor of the Visa Championship Series, the elite series of indoor and outdoor USATF events; the Visa Championships, USAG's national championships; and the 2008 USA Swimming Olympic Trials. Visa is also a worldwide sponsor of the Paralympic movement and has been instrumental in helping gain domestic television coverage and drawing attention to the inspirational stories of America's Paralympic athletes.

Visa has created a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign in support of the Olympic Games that includes national advertising and promotions, bank and merchant marketing, and public relations.

More than 225 issuing U.S. banks and 300 merchant partners have participated in Beijing 2008 Olympic Games marketing programs, producing more than 48 million pieces of marketing collateral (POS, signage and direct mail).

Visa issuers and merchants also can increase usage and loyalty through Visa's national promotion "The Fastest Way to Beijing", in which cardholders are entered to win each time they use their Visa card from February 1 through April 30, 2008. The Grand Prize winner will receive a trip for two to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and 10 First Prize winners will score a Panasonic High Definition Blu-ray Theater. No purchase or obligation is necessary to enter or win. See Official Rules for details on non-purchase entries.

Visa is the only card that enables consumers to get into select Olympic Games and Olympic Trials venues and to purchase Olympic merchandise online, in Olympic retail stores and by catalog. Thousands of Visa-branded ATMs have been installed in and around Beijing, including many at Olympic venues.


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