Olympians in Lenovo Blogger Program Open a Channel to Fans Worldwide, Changing the Olympic Games Experience

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Olympic athletes taking part in the Lenovo “Voices of the Olympic Games” blogging program have found that blogging creates deeper connections with fans worldwide – many they did not even know existed.

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Those are the blog entries that get the most readers.

Lenovo is offering a blogging program and website for athletes participating in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The program builds on a historic shift in the Olympic movement, because these are the first Olympic Games where athletes are blogging during the competition time period itself.

Some of the leading bloggers among the more than 100 athletes in the program agree that blogs are a way to provide insight into the minds of athletes as they train and compete – an inside look into their lives, behavior and training that fans cannot get anywhere else.

Lenovo has provided IdeaPad and other notebook PCs and video cameras to more than 100 athletes from more than 25 countries and 29 sports who are participating in the program. Their blogs are presented on the website http://www.lenovo.com/voicesofthegames. To date, there have been 1,374 athlete postings on the forum, reaching more than 8.5 million Olympic fans through conversations on third-party blogs and social media sites.

From Beijing, Carissa Gump, a U.S. Olympic weightlifter, said athlete blogs are even more popular than she had expected. "It's because people get to know us better, find out so much more information about us, giving us more exposure. Readers feel like they have a connection to us personally." Gump lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Until 2008, athletes were allowed to write blogs only until the opening day of the Olympic Games, and could then resume their blogs after the conclusion of the Games. This year, new regulations from the International Olympic Committee enable athletes to write blogs about their experiences off the field of play during the actual 17 days of competition.

"Sometimes there's a story you really want to write, something you want to say, and it's so rare for fans to get the athletes' perspectives on the competition, what we're thinking and feeling at the moment," said Seth Kelsey, a U.S. Olympic fencer. "Those are the blog entries that get the most readers." Kelsey lives in Colorado Springs and Portland, Ore.

"I've been able to reach friends and family in Peru and have received support from Peruvians around the world," said Peter Lopez, a Peru Olympic tae kwon do athlete. "As an athlete, that's what I need, support from people around the world. Most comments I get come from the blogs about my personal experiences." Lopez, originally from Houston, Texas, trains in Los Angeles.

Lenovo is a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Torch Relay, providing more than 30,000 pieces of computing equipment to manage the operations of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Four-thousand athletes also visit Lenovo internet lounges inside the Olympic Village each day, using PCs to maintain blogs, e-mail and surf the Internet.

Lenovo began offering personal computing technology to athletes in April 2008, asking them simply to use IdeaPad notebooks and video cameras to share their experiences through a blog. Lenovo does not require athletes to blog about their usage of Lenovo personal computing equipment, and does not require athletes to sign contracts to participate.

"Lenovo's goal with this blogger program is to give athletes a starting point for discussions and sharing of ideas and experiences about the Olympic Games," said David Churbuck, vice president, Global Web Marketing. "It isn't really a program about making millions of impressions in the traditional marketing sense – it's about making thousands of connections between athletes and fans."

Olympic Medal Hopeful Talks About Handling Pressure - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sze9j9GT9g

Why Olympic Athletes are Blogging - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlsl6w5SaiU

About Lenovo

Lenovo (992) (ADR: LNVGY), designer of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch, is dedicated to building the world's most innovative personal computers. Formed by Lenovo Group's acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services worldwide. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. For more information, see http://www.lenovo.com.

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Tamara Jacobs
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