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250 Kiwis nominated to carry OlympicTorch in Italy


250 Kiwis nominated to carry the Olympic Torch in Italy

Nominations are rolling in for five New Zealanders to fly to Italy and represent New Zealand in the Olympic Torch Relay leading up to the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, in February 2006.

Close to 250 people have been nominated to be torchbearers and New Zealand Olympic Committee along with global Olympic sponsor Samsung, are urging the public to make their own recommendations before the July 10 deadline.

“This is our chance to recognise the people who work tirelessly in our communities,

Barry Maister, Secretary General for the New Zealand Olympic Committee said.

“We should be nominating those who prove that one individual really can make a difference,” he said.

Five New Zealanders who embody the Olympic ideals of peace, solidarity, fraternity and courage will be chosen to carry torches in the relay. These ideals will be in the spotlight this week when the 111th Olympic Day is celebrated in Wellington.

Samsung Electronics Australia spokesperson Gemma Lemieux said the response from the New Zealand public to the Olympic Torch Relay had been really positive and provided another great opportunity to raise the profile of the Olympic Winter Games in New Zealand.

“Our five Kiwi torchbearers will help bring the Olympic spirit to New Zealand when they take up the torch in Italy in January,” Ms Lemieux said.

Samsung, The Olympic Partner (TOP) in the wireless communications category, is giving 1500 people worldwide the opportunity to carry the torch including five New Zealanders.

The five torchbearers will receive a trip to Italy to participate in the relay which will cross through all provinces of Italy covering approximately 11,300km and involving 10,000 torchbearers. The relay begins in Rome on 8 December 2005, arriving in Torino for the start of the Olympic Winter Games on 10 February 2006.

The search for kiwi torchbearers is being led by Samsung Winter Olympic ambassador Simon Wi Rutene*, Olympian and undefeated New Zealand ski champion. He will be up on ski fields in the next couple of weeks encouraging people to make nominations.

To place a nomination for the Olympic Torch Relay, go to http://www.samsung.co.nz/olympics. Enter the nominees’ details and 100 words on why they should be chosen to represent New Zealand in the Olympic Torch Relay.

Nominations close on July 10. People are able to nominate themselves.

ENDS

Notes to Editor

*Simon Wi Rutene

Simon represented New Zealand in Alpine Ski Racing at four Winter Olympic Games from 1986-1995 and reigned for a decade as the undefeated New Zealand National Ski Champion. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge about competing successfully at an international level.

Simon is a National Alpine Technical Delegate certified by Ski Racing New Zealand and recently sat his exam to become an FIS International Alpine Technical Delegate, the highest official level in Alpine Skiing.

Simon is company director of his family’s education firm Hana Ltd. In addition, he works as an athlete career and education consultant for the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

Samsung

Samsung Electronics is one of the world’s second largest producers of mobile phone handsets. It employs 88,000 people in 89 offices across 46 countries. Since 1997, Samsung has been The Olympic Partner (TOP) in the Wireless Communications Equipment category.

Samsung was a partner of the first ever global Olympic Torch Relay for Athens 2004 and is continuing its official sponsorship of the Relay at Torino 2006.

New Zealand Olympic Committee

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an autonomous organisation, whose aim is to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in its country in accordance with the Olympic Charter. NZOC's role is to promote Olympism within the framework of sport, through education and development programmes and through the celebration of the Olympic Games with the aim of creating a better and more peaceful world.

The NZOC will select, organise and lead the team to the Olympic Winter Games in Turin next February

Olympic Day will be celebrated Thursday (23 June) in Wellington. On this day in 1894 the father of modern Olympism and the modern Olympic Movement, Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin, announced his intention to restage the ancient Olympic Games. He saw the Games as a way of using sport to promote the balanced development of people as an essential step in building a peaceful society that places a high value on human dignity.

As part of the annual Olympic Day celebrations, schools throughout New Zealand will participate in the Olympic Day run. Olympians will involve themselves with schools throughout New Zealand and take part in the run. A visiting scholar from the United Kingdom, Jim Parry will hold public lectures on Olympism and its place in the world.

2005 is the International Year of Sport and Physical Education and the Olympic Movement and the United Nations are working together to harness the great power of sport to change peoples’ lives for the better.


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