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USOC announces multi-year National Olympic Education Program

Jeff Howard USOC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee announced today a National Olympic Education Program with Olympic Values serving as the platform for the initiative. Through a multi-year campaign, the USOC seeks to positively impact Americans by showcasing and championing the principles associated with the Olympic Movement. Olympic Values include: inspiration, friendship, fair play, perseverance, mutual respect, sacrifice, hope, dreams, patriotism, unity and joy in effort.

In year one (2006), the focus of the USOC initiative will be on the value of Fair Play, which includes drug-free competition. Posters have been developed that focus on fair play and drug-free sport with the tagline "Real Athletes Play Fair" displayed prominently. The posters target three distinct levels of sport participation:
* Elite Athletes - Olympians, Paralympians and Hopefuls
* Emerging Elite Athletes - College and Junior National Programs
* Grass-roots Athletes - High School and Youth Sports

"The values of the Olympic Movement resonate with so many in our society and throughout the world," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. "With so much focus on the eradication of banned substances in sport, the value of Fair Play is the right choice for year one of our educational efforts. Additionally, I am equally excited about the opportunities in future years to expand the reach of the Olympic Movement through the many values this multi-year campaign will touch."

In addition to the poster campaign, the USOC has collaborated with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency around its year one focus of Fair Play. The two organizations have created four public service announcements for television featuring seven Olympians and one Paralympian, all dedicated to competing clean. The public service announcements include Olympians:
* Apolo Anton Ohno - Short Track Speedskating
* Julie Chu, Jenny Potter, Angela Ruggiero - Women's Ice Hockey
* Vonetta Flowers - Bobsled and Mark Grimmette - Luge
* Manuel Guerra (Paralympian) - Sled Hockey and Jennifer Rodriguez - Long Track Speedskating (Bilingual PSA English/Spanish)

Movie theater ads have also been created to support the Fair Play campaign. Five markets have been selected to show the ads which feature Olympians:
* Apolo Anton Ohno - Los Angeles, Calif.
* Jeremy Bloom - Denver, Colo.
* Vonetta Flowers - Chicago, Ill.
* Michelle Kwan - New York, N.Y.
* Jennifer Rodriguez - Dallas, Texas

National Governing Bodies (NGB) will also be asked to participate in the campaign by distributing the collateral materials developed and by placing a NGB-specific ad on their website and in sport- specific publications. The NGB ads will be developed by the USOC and also focus on the Fair Play value.

In addition to Olympic family support, the Department of Education (ED) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have also pledged their backing. The ED's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools will provide the USOC with names and contact information of education-related organizations to which the campaign could distribute Fair Play materials. The ONDCP will offer support of the year-one initiative through website promotion.

"America's students and Olympic athletes know that success takes more than skills and smarts and hard work," said Deborah Price, U.S. Department of Education Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. "It takes a well-developed strength of character.

"The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to support the U.S. Olympic Committee's Fair Play initiative. Its message of respect, responsibility, trustworthiness and honesty is welcome, timely and reflected in our own character education efforts. Character counts and cheating is never justified, whether taking a test or training for the gold medal. We look forward to working with the USOC and its athletes to help spread this message."

Also to come as part of the ongoing initiative will be an online section of targeting grass-roots athletes and elementary educators. As a component of the youth-oriented website, elementary educators and parents will be able to download educational materials focused on the Olympic Movement and upcoming Games.

The entire campaign can be viewed on the USOC website:
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