TORINO, Italy, February 8, 2006 — Lenovo, the worldwide computing equipment sponsor of the Olympic Winter Games, today announced its lineup of Lenovo Champions — 11 Olympic Games athletes from the United States, Slovenia, Norway, Germany and China.
These athletes will help support Lenovo's broad Olympic Games campaign, which seeks to establish brand awareness, build unity among employees worldwide and drive business with global customers. The athletes will host special events at Lenovo i.lounge Internet locations on-site in the Olympic villages in Torino, make personal appearances at corporate events, and participate in other Lenovo activities.
Lenovo provides the athletes with computing equipment to help them with their training, to help manage their careers, and to help them communicate with friends, family and supporters from wherever they are located during their extensive worldwide training and competition schedules.
"It’s an honor to be part of the Lenovo Champions program along with so many outstanding athletes who will compete at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino," said Yang Yang, short track speed skater from China. "Most people aren't aware how heavily athletes rely on technology – but we all use our notebook PCs almost every day to analyze training footage and to stay connected to our family and fans all over the world."
"Each of these athletes is an innovator," said Deepak Advani, chief marketing officer, Lenovo. "All of our 20,000 employees will cheer on the Lenovo Champions as they compete, and we will keep them connected to their families, friends and fans through our Lenovo i.lounge Internet centers on-site in Torino."
Ronny Ackermann, Nordic Combined – Germany Ackermann started to learn skiing at the age of 5, ski jumping at 7. At age 12, he joined the boarding school for sports in Oberhof. He decided to focus on Nordic Combined because he preferred both the risky ski jumping and the physical strain of cross country skiing. Ackermann was the overall World Cup champion in 2002 and 2003. Named the "German Male Athlete of the Year 2005," Ackermann heads to Torino looking to improve his two silver medals in the Olympic Winter Games in 2002.
Nina Bednarik, Freestyle Skiing – Moguls – Slovenia The 24-year-old skier is making her way through World Cup competitions, twice finishing in second place at European Championships. Bednarik was recently crowned the 2005/06 National Champion in her country of Slovenia. With this win, she solidified her place on her first Olympic team and is looking forward to competing in Torino.
Tony Benshoof, Luge – United States After finishing in 17th place at the 2002 Olympics Winter Games, Benshoof rededicated himself to the sport and has become a consistent top-10 finisher on the World Cup circuit. In 2004-05, he earned two silver medals and was sixth overall. While training in Park City, Utah, on Oct. 16, 2001, Benshoof blasted down the 2002 Olympic track at 86.6 miles per hour, eclipsing the Guinness World Records' highest recorded luge speed of 85.38 miles per hour, set in 1982. He currently sits 2nd overall in the 2005-06 World Cup standings and qualified for Torino as the United States' number one single male luger.
Tora Berger, Biathlon - Norway At the young age of 24, Berger was the 2005 World Champion and participates in a variety of biathlon competitions including individual, mass start, pursuit and sprint. She comes from the mountain village of Lesja in southern Norway. Her older brother, Lars, is also a top biathlete with the national Norwegian team. Berger is known as a positive influence on the entire Norwegian team because of her humorous and kind personality.
Emily Cook, Freestyle Skiing - Aerials – United States The 2001 U.S. aerials champ, Cook was sidelined just weeks before the 2002 Olympic Winter Games after a bad landing that caused multiple breaks in her left foot and torn ligaments in both feet. She spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons rehabilitating and coaching for the "Come Fly with Us" training program at the Utah Olympic Park. In 2005, Cook began her comeback with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup circuit and finished seventh at the World Championships. She will make her Olympic Games debut in Torino after securing a spot on the 2006 team by winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in December.
Li Nina, Freestyle Skiing - Aerials - China Li Nina is the current World Cup champion gold medalist, having been a dominant force in women's aerials competition for the past two years. She debuted in the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Li Nina's breakout season was 2004-05, when she won gold at the World Championships and won the overall World Cup aerials title. In the 12 events on the World Cup calendar, she placed first on six occasions, and second on four occasions. Li Nina started her training in acrobatics and gymnastics. She comes from the town of Benxi in the Liaoning province.
Jeret Peterson, Freestyle Skiing - Aerials – United States Jeret "Speedy" Peterson made his Olympic Winter Games debut in Salt Lake, when he was named the replacement for the injured Emily Cook. Peterson dominated the international circuit in 2004-05 to win his first World Cup overall crown. He is one of only a handful of competitors in the world who competes with a quintuple-twisting triple back flip that he calls "The Hurricane."
Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, Figure Skating - Pairs - China Two-time reigning World Champions and six-time Chinese National Champions, Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao have been skating together since 1992. Known for their huge jump throws, the pair took the bronze medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games, placing behind the Canadian and Russian teams.
Seth Wescott, Snowboarding - SBX – United States Wescott leads the U.S. medal charge to Torino as snowboard cross (SBX) makes its Olympic Games debut in Italy. A three-time SBX national champion, Seth won gold at the 2005 World Snowboard Championships and is a seven-time X Games medalist. Wescott trains for SBX by "big-mountain riding" in Alaska, which involves being dropped from a helicopter onto a mountain that he believes no one has ridden before – making a "first descent."
Yang Yang (A), Short Track Speed Skating - China A two-time gold medalist at the 2002 Salt LakeOlympic Winter Games, Yang dominated the World Championships of Short Track Speed Skating for six years straight (1997-2002), reaching 22 of 24 possible finals and winning 15 of them. Yang’s two medals in the 2002 Olympic Games were the first ever for China in any sport. Yang finished third in the overall 2005 World Cup standings.
The letter A often appended to Yang's name stands for her birth month of August and distinguishes her from teammate Yang Yang (S), who was born in September and with whom Yang often shares the medalists' podium. The written distinction between Yang Yang (A) and (S) is for the benefit of non-Chinese speakers, as their names are pronounced differently in Chinese.
About Lenovo Lenovo creates the most innovative products and services in the personal computing industry. A global technology leader for 22 years, Lenovo offers a worldwide product line that includes ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops, and award-winning "air-bag" and fingerprint-reader technologies. Lenovo also commands 30 percent of the PC marketplace in China, the fastest-growing market worldwide, offering a variety of consumer and commercial PCs. Lenovo engineers, programmers and scientists from five laboratories in China, Japan and the United States focus on research and development that solves customer problems and improves productivity. As Technology Equipment sponsor of the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Lenovo will be providing the International Olympic Committee with notebook and desktop PCs, servers, storage and other computing equipment. Subscribing to Olympic ideals of international understanding, fair competition and excellence, Lenovo contributes secure, stable computing equipment for the successful operation of the Olympic Games.
For more information, see www.lenovo.com .