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KSL-TV: Olympic Aid

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A large effort is underway to raise awareness and money to help children in war-torn countries. You can help, and maybe get one of the hottest tickets in town.

Thursday in Salt Lake City, Johann Koss announced that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu will attend a February 9 roundtable to discuss childrens issues.

It's part of a larger effort to raise awareness and money to help children in war-torn countries. You can help, and maybe get one of the hottest tickets in town.

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Includes numbers to call for Medals Plaza Concert tickets

SLOC is giving Olympic Aid 500 tickets a night for events at the medals plaza.

A lot of people want to get inside that fence. Well, here's one way. Olympic Aid is giving tickets away those tickets for a $100 donation.

Consider the scalping price for a lot of these shows. I called earlier today. Dave Matthews and 'Nsync ? $150. Creed $125. Sheryl Crow, $150.

So this isn't a bad deal, and the money goes to help children.

Olympic Aid is run by Norwegian gold medalist Johann Koss. His passion for the cause goes back to the podium in Lillehammer in 1994.

It was his moment. Three gold medals in a single Games, right there in his home country.

But Johann Koss would share the spotlight. He donated much of his prize money to Olympic Aid # the humanitarian organization started by the Lillehammer Organizing Committee to help the people of war-torn Sarajevo.

He challenged his countrymen to make a donation too.

Johann Koss: "For me it's an incredible feeling, that just so little can do so much."

18 million dollars later, with contributions pouring in from other countries as well, Olympic Aid was off and running.

The mission, to improve the health and well-being of children confronted with war. Some were injured, many showing a remarkable resilience, but all struggling to find hope.

Since '94, Koss has earned his MD and made Olympic Aid his life's work. Traveling with fellow Olympians to war-ravaged areas around the world...introducing sport...organized play in places where children and communities are attempting to rebuild.

The sports and games are accompanied by vaccination clinics and school help. Girls, in particular, he says, benefit from watching the women athletes.

"We've seen they have improved attendance in primary schools by more than 30 percent in some areas, just by introducing some sport and play program for girls," Koss said. "They also become leaders in their own society."

And that is the ultimate goal, says Koss, to get the ball rolling so families, communities can move forward, on their own.

He's in Salt Lake City with the goal or raising 5 million dollars for Olympic Aid. Ann Romney, wife of SLOC President Mitt Romney, has joined him in that effort.

"Salt Lake could be, we hope, just a wonderful example to other communities to get behind this," said Ann Romney.

Buying a ticket to the medals plaza is one of many ways people can contribute to Olympic Aid, with other opportunities throughout the Olympics.

We should mention, a number of local artists have already donated paintings for auction. Several cultural Olympiad performances are dedicating an evening to Olympic Aid, and Johann hasn't forgotten what worked in Lillehammer. He's challenging everyone to donate a dollar for every gold medal USA wins during the 2002 Games.

Facts About Olympic Aid:

Non profit humanitarian organization that raises funds to deliver sport and play programs for children living in situations of disadvantage around the world.

Olympic Aid uses sport and play as tools to advance child and community development. Sport and play are critical elements to any child's development as they teach teamwork, discipline, respect for others, creativity and goal setting.

Olympic Aid will have a presence throughout the 2002 Olympic Winter Games including:

Two Olympic Aid sport & spirit galleries in Salt Lake City's and Park City's Gateway Centers showcasing pieces by SLOC-commissioned artists for sale to the public and a photo exhibit of Olympic Aid in the field.

An athlete memorabilia silent auction and teammmates program at the Olympic rendevous @ Samsung.

A series of PSA's that will air at each of the Olympic venues.

Olympic Aid house in Olympic village where athletes will endorse the declaration on sport for development and peace and donate to athlete memorabilia online auction.

World Olympian center and athlete reunion center.

Olympic Aid was founded by the Lillehammer Olympic Committee in 1994. Since 1994, Olympic Aid efforts have been spearheaded by four time Olympic Gold Medalist speedskater Johann Olav Koss.

Olympic Aid is an athlete driven organization. Athletes support Olympic Aid with donations to the athlete memorabilia online auction hosted by eBay, fundraising appearances, and in some cases, visits to Olympic Aid programs in the field.

Olympic Aid's athlete ambassadors include aerialists Joe Pack and Nikki Stone, nordic skier Luke Bodensteiner, skiier Tommy Moe, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, and track stars Marion Jones, Haile Gabrselassie and Michael Johnson.

Olympic Aid's signature program is the refugee Coach2Coach program. For many refugee children, this program offers them their first opportunity to kick a soccer ball.

Olympic Aid's sport for development programs are founded on the two guiding principles of inclusion and sustainability.

Olympic Aid volunteers are currently implementing sport and play programs in Angola, Benin, Cote d'lvorie, East Timor, Ghana, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Website: www.olympicaid.org

Roundtable Forum

This is a news release from Olympic Aid:

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will visit Salt Lake City at the 2002 Games to deliver the keynote address at the Olympic Aid roundtable forum on Feb. 9.

The roundtable is entitled, "Healthier, Safer, Stronger: Using Sport for Development to Build a Brighter Future for Children Worldwide." The roundtable will bring together international dignitaries recognized as leaders in health, sport, and the Olympic movement.

"We are bringing the leaders of the world together for the first time during the Olympic Games, here in Salt Lake, to discuss the holistic development of children using sport and play," said Johann Koss, chairperson of Olympic Aid.

Olympic Aid is an athlete-driven humanitarian organization that raises funds to deliver sport and play programs to children living in situations of disadvantage around the world.

Olympic Aid is pleased to confirm the attendance of several global leaders as participants, including World Health Organization director general Dr. Gro Brundtland and High Commissioner of U.N. High Commissioner for refugees Ruud Lubbers. Also attending are IOC President Jacques Rogge, Unicef executive director Carol Bellamy, special advisor to the U.N. Secretary General on sport for development and peace Adolf Ogi, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others.

Other participants include secretary Tommy Thompson of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation; Jacques Francois Martin, president of Vaccine Fund; Colleen Menlove, Primary General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Commissioner Viviane Reding of the European Commission; and Mitt Romney, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

"I applaud Olympic Aid for convening this meeting and for expanding its work to benefit children in developing countries," U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said, "I very much hope that your discussions will identify new and fruitful ways of putting sport at the service of development and peace for the benefit of the world's children."

Participants will focus on four case studies facilitated by former news anchor Hillary Bowker as the moderator. Ann Romney, cochair on the Olympic Aid board of patrons, will open the forum with Koss providing the closing remarks.

"This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Olympic Aid's humanitarian initiatives that advance child and community development through sport and play," Ann Romney said.

Olympic Aid recognizes the American Legacy Foundation and Intermountain Health Care for their support of the roundtable forum.