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The IOC is about to begin its major campaign to prevent ambush marketing from "plaguing" its sponsors, while at the same time beginning talks with the U.N. about a global Olympic truce, according to Jeff Jensen of AD AGE. And, "if an Olympic truce is established," IOC Dir of Marketing Michael Payne says that the IOC will "look at creating a marketing program for sponsors" -- a program that could allow the likes of Coca-Cola, Eastman Kodak and Visa USA to donate money to relief programs around the world. Jensen notes that "crucial to squelching ambush marketing will be getting consumers to care as much about the issue as organizers and sponsors." To achieve that, the IOC is creating programs that educate people, especially youngsters, about the movement. For example, the IOC is currently testing Olympic-themed academic curriculums in schools in Canada (in a program sponsored by Visa) and England (sponsored by McDonald's) (AD AGE, 7/17 issue).
Wednesday marks one year before the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Media around the country are taking this opportunity to examine Atlanta and its preparations before the Games. MEDIA ROUNDUP: USA TODAY's Tom Weir: "I want to know how many strangers from different nations are going to hug on the street and exchange addresses. And that is where I worry about Atlanta." (USA TODAY, 7/18). In the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Olympic historian John Lucas says, "Atlanta has the potential to be a pioneer in the healing of wounds between black and white, rich and poor, Americans and non-Americans, old and young. Every ethnic group and every age that has divided the world will be coming to Atlanta" (Elizabeth Kurylo, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/18). In Chicago, Rick Telander notes the news of newly- constructed dorms in the Olympic village settling too far into the clay: "What shall we call this? An oversight? A minor setback on the Road to Oz? Or is it something darker, an omen of failings to come in a city doing too much too fast to make a name for itself" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/17). ACOG President Billy Payne: "The whole purpose for the Games and bidding for the Games is to make us an international city. ... [But] until that time comes, when the whole world comes and likes what they see, we are probably exaggerating a little when we declare ourselves a great international city a year in advance of the Games" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 7/16). In S.F., Joan Kirchner writes, "Visitors to the Olympics this time next year will discover that Atlanta hasn't shaken its Southern roots on its fast climb up the corporate ladder. It's legal to marry your cousin. Grown-up men commonly keep little-boy nicknames: Bubba, Billy, Johnny. And the city's most famous restaurant is the Varsity, a drive-in that specializes in greasy chili dogs and onion rings" (SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, 7/16). In Miami, Linda Robertson notes, "Atlanta is poised to host the centennial Games and hoping to join the company of 'the world's great cities'" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/16). AP's Marc Price notes, "Organizers have repeated it until they are blue in the face: the Games will be on time, on budget, and the best ever" (L.A. TIMES, 7/16). In Houston, John Lopez writes, "Preparations are going smoothly with a year left" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/16). In Milwaukee, Katherine Skiba writes, "With the 1996 Olympics a year away, the place is like a host fretting and sweating in front of the oven before company comes" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/16). Header in Tampa: "As it prepares for the 100th anniversary of the Modern Olympic Games, Atlanta works hard to live up to expectations - and live down some of its reputation" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/15). LET'S CELEBRATE: Bryant Gumbel and the "Today" show will broadcast from Atlanta tomorrow in recognition that the Olympics are one year away (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/18).