Rockefeller turns into winter wonderland

Release courtesy of the U.S. Olympic Committee

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and presenting sponsor Hilton Worldwide and its portfolio of 10 hotel brands will kick off the 100-day countdown to the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in grand fashion by turning New York’s Rockefeller Center into a winter wonderland on Nov. 4. Through Olympic sport demonstrations by all eight winter sports, appearances by Olympians, Paralympians and 2010 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, as well as various other sponsor activities, the USOC will awaken the excitement of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games and spotlight the individual journeys of athletes striving for spots on Team USA.

These journeys will be commemorated by a USOC program entitled Making Team USA, which provides an inside look at what it takes to become a member of America’s Team and recognizes athletes as they are nominated to the USOC for inclusion on the team. As the presenting sponsor of the Making Team USA kick-off event in New York, Hilton Worldwide will run a themed sweepstakes in conjunction with the program which features prizes around the Vancouver Games and will be promoted on Hilton Worldwide’s website as well as on TeamUSA.org. Hilton Worldwide will also sponsor the Making Team USA Daily Update on TeamUSA.org.

In addition to presenting sponsor Hilton Worldwide, the USOC is happy to announce the following associate sponsors for the 100 Days Out event: The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s® USA, 24 Hour Fitness, Acer, and Anheuser-Busch.

“The Olympic Winter Festival is a true celebration of the Olympic Movement. Hilton Worldwide is proud to help celebrate this milestone in anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. We are looking forward to hosting travelers from around the world at our hotels during the Vancouver Games,” said Jeff Diskin, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing, Hilton Worldwide.

Coca-Cola will unveil their new commemorative Olympic packaging featuring collectible 12 ounce can graphics and begin a series of athlete webisodes, which will begin in December on TeamUSA.org. The webisodes will chronicle the experience of Making Team USA for seven Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, including Paralympic alpine skier Heath Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.) and the Coke Vancouver Olympic Winter Games 6-pack: speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno (Federal Way, Wash.), snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler (Toledo, Ohio), hockey player Angela Ruggiero (Simi Valley, Calif.), figure skater Evan Lysacek (Naperville, Ill.) and figure skating pair Keauna McLaughlin (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Rockne Brubaker (Algonquin, Ill.).

24 Hour Fitness will sponsor the U.S. Olympic 5-Ring Challenge in Rockefeller Center. This Olympic sport aptitude test gives participants the opportunity to evaluate their skill level and determine which Olympic sports may best be suited for them. This Olympic sport evaluation assesses an individual’s level in five areas of athleticism: power, agility, flexibility, speed and strength. Exercises are basic drills that require minimal set-up and can be performed at home.

“By sponsoring six athletes and showcasing the U.S. Olympic 5-Ring Challenge in our clubs, we hope to inspire future Olympians who may someday join the ranks of those heading to Vancouver in February,” said Tony Wells, Chief Marketing Officer, 24 Hour Fitness. “We are happy to show our support to the USOC, Olympians and hopefuls on this important 100 day milestone until the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.”

Acer, sponsor of the Winter Festival in Rockefeller Center featuring all eight of the winter sports which includes biathlon, bobsled/skeleton, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, luge, ski/snowboard and speedskating, will display their latest line of Netbooks, Notebooks and LCD displays: a range of special edition products distinguished by the Acer Olympic Games composite logo, showing the brand name and the Olympic rings together. Notebooks that also feature the Olympic logo engraved onto the palm rest were created with the same passion as that which drives athletes to excel in their own particular sporting discipline. These special-edition products were designed to showcase its excellence in engineering and design.

Activities at the sport booths include:

Biathlon – Fans will meet Olympians and 2010 hopefuls Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and with the help of a “ski-ergometer” have the chance to experience the sport of biathlon without stepping foot in the snow. This device is a special piece of equipment that simulates what the athletes are dealing with as they try to shoot at targets with an increased heart rate.

Bobsled/Skeleton – Here fans will have the chance to sit in an actual bobsled and imagine soaring down the ice at 90 miles per hour.

Curling – In addition to an on-ice demonstration, fans can feel a curling stone and learn how to hold the broom. There will also be an opportunity to meet the first members to be nominated to the USOC for inclusion on the 2010 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams.

Figure Skating – Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes (Great Neck, N.Y.) will lead New York City school children onto the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center to enjoy a free session on the ice in honor of their participation in the event. Fans will also have the chance to meet Sarah and view some of the competitive costumes worn by former champions.

Ice Hockey – Watch Olympic gold medalist Jim Craig (Easton, Mass.) reunite with Russian team member Vladimir Myshkin to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the now famous USA vs. Russia “Miracle on Ice” duel. 2006 Olympian and 2010 hopeful David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn.) will also be present to meet the fans.

Luge – Fans will be able to take a dry-land luge run through Rockefeller Plaza.

Ski/Snowboard – Experience the thrill of aerial skiing with an exhibition by the Flying Aces trampoline group. Also, fans will have the chance to meet Olympic silver medalist in the women’s half pipe Gretchen Bleiler (Toledo, Ohio) and Olympian Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (Boise, Idaho). Speedy is the only man in the world to compete his signature three-flip, five-twist maneuver – the “Hurricane” – considered the most difficult trick in the sport.

“The U.S. Olympic Committee is looking forward to bringing the excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to New York City,” said Lisa Baird, USOC Chief Marketing Officer. “With the flurry of activity we have planned, fans will get an up-close-and-personal look at Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and have the opportunity to learn about and, in some cases, experience Olympic and Paralympic sports, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Hilton Worldwide and our associate sponsors for their support in bringing this 100-day countdown event to historic Rockefeller Center.”

Stay tuned to TeamUSA.org and register there to receive regular updates on Making of Team USA. Each week fans will be able to follow their favorite athletes on in their quest to represent Team USA in Vancouver with “Going for the Gold” vodcasts. This weekly video series chronicles athletes’ pursuit of ascending from hopeful to Olympian and Paralympian. Furthermore, in tuning into TeamUSA.org, individuals will have the opportunity to become Honorary Captains of Team USA and receive a special edition item with their $100 donation to support America’s athletes in their journey to realize their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

And, there’s still time to join the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in Vancouver! Winter sports fans can join the USOC on the trip of a lifetime to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The USOC’s VIP Donor program combines world-class hospitality with exclusive fan access, while raising tax-deductible contributions to support Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic Movement in America.

For more information on attending the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. as guests of the USOC, please contact the USOC’s Development Division at 1-800-775-8762 or visit www.teamusa2010.org. Learn more about the Making of Team USA and the USOC at Teamusa.org. Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/USOlympic).

For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529, or visit www.teamusa.org.

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The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 90 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Our brands are comprised of more than 3,300 hotels in 77 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors.

Tishman Speyer is the co-owner and manager of Rockefeller Center, the world-famous real estate, shopping and dining complex in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Rockefeller Center is the site of numerous public exhibits and events, including large-scale installations of public art by world-renowned artists including Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons and Jonathan Borofsky. Tishman Speyer has earned a worldwide reputation for innovative utilization of public art in its signature commercial properties, which include Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Center. Tishman Speyer is committed to the preservation and restoration of Rockefeller Center and recently refurbished and reopened the historic Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center, making it one of New York’s top attractions. Each day an estimated 350,000 people visit the Rockefeller Plaza complex, which during the holidays is home to the most famous Christmas Tree in the world.