sharing the Olympic spirit
OLYMPICS/ self introduction

If you're a foreigner, it could be you
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-05 12:03


Foreigners in China get a shot at holding Olympic torch

If you are a foreigner who has lived on the Chinese mainland for at least a year, you could be holding the Olympic torch aloft next year.

A nationwide hunt for eight foreign Olympic torchbearers is being launched today by Lenovo, the worldwide partner of the Olympic torch relay, along with China Daily, the country's only national English daily newspaper.

In addition to meeting the Olympic torchbearers' selection criteria, participants will have to submit a photo, along with a 500-word essay about their lives in China and why they think they should be selected as torchbearers, by the end of this month.

The organizers encourage expatriates from all walks of life to take part in the event, especially those who love Chinese culture and history and are committed to promoting friendship and exchanges between China and the rest of the world.

Contestants'  stories will be featured on the newspaper's website and the public invited to vote for their favorite participants online. By the end of November, the judges' panel will declare the winners based on the number of votes received and their evaluation of the participants' personal experiences.

China Daily will cover the whole selection process and print some of the interesting stories in its weekly publication, The Olympian.

The organizers of the Beijing Olympic Games began recruiting 21,880 torchbearers from around the world on June 23 through various organizations and entities. There are two stages in the worldwide selection process.

The first one is through recommendations made by various organizations and institutions. The second is an open process, in which public nominations are accepted. Five percent of the torchbearers are expected to be non-Chinese people living on the mainland.

As one of the three sponsors of the 2008 Olympic torch relay, Lenovo has nominated some 15 torchbearer candidates from varied backgrounds, including Kong Xiangrui, a worker at Tianjin port who is interested in inventions; Wang Shunyou, a postman who has been delivering mail in a mountainous region for 20 years; Pu Cunxin, a well-known actor who is active in public health promotions, and figure skating world champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.

The company also launched a national Olympic torchbearer selection campaign on June 23, searching for the unsung heroes who contribute to building harmonious communities and demonstrate the Olympic spirit.

Up to 50,000 people have taken part in the program through Lenovo's official web-site and on various promotional occasions in some 100 cities.

Olympic legend

Lenovo, founded in 1984 in Beijing, is a global company with executive offices in the United States, China, and Singapore. It is the largest PC maker in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth largest in the world.

The company has been a long-time supporter of sports and the Olympic Movement. In 1999, it sponsored the Chinese national women's soccer team and two years later, sponsored Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

In 2004, Lenovo became the first Chinese company to join the Olympic Partner Program. As a worldwide sponsor of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the company was a major supplier of computing equipment – such as desktop and notebook computers and servers – and funding in sup-port of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy and will do so again next year in Beijing.

At the 2006 Turin Winter Games, Lenovo provided 4,767 Lenovo desktops, 1,600 ThinkCenter desktops, 620 notebooks, 348 servers and 600 printers together with a 100-member technology sup-port team.

As the only Olympic Partner from China, Lenovo has initiated a series of marketing programs and varied activities promoting the Beijing Olympic Games and the Olympic spirit.

Based on the concepts of Hi-tech Olympics and People's Olympics, it has devised several Olympic-themed marketing plans.

Lenovo will provide 15,000 desktops, notebooks, servers, printers, screens and other equipment for the Beijing Games as well as information systems for Games operations. The Olympic Village and the press centers in Beijing, Hong Kong and Qingdao will have nine Lenovo Internet Cafes during the Games.

Lenovo technicians will serve at the Olympic venues, fixing all brands of computers. The company will also stage a series of exhibitions and activities in the Olympic Green and launch the most advanced digital products.

To attract more people to the Olympic Movement and spread Chinese culture, Lenovo is playing an active role in the Olympic torch relay, the second largest Olympic event after the Games.

Its torch design team at the Innovation Design Center of Lenovo Group won the world-wide design competition with the red and silver torch featuring Chinese traditional elements such as lucky clouds and the scroll. It has launched Olympic torchbearer selections in some 20 countries and an Olympic torch tour around China.

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