Citi Announces Innovative Digital 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Program to Support the Next Generation of America's Athletes
posted on 04/12/2012

© John Cheng / Steve Lange

Citi launches program with $500,000 donation to U.S. Olympic Committee; Fans direct Citi's donation via activity on Facebook and Twitter

Unique program will fund U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sport Programs in communities across America at Citi.com/everystep

New York, April 12, 2012 – To support America's next generation of athletes, Citi announced a $500,000 donation to the U.S. Olympic Committee to launch Every Step of the Way℠, an innovative digital program benefitting U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and athletes of all ages in communities across America. For this truly digital Olympic Games, Citi, the official bank sponsor of the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, has developed a truly digital program.

"For 200 years, Citi has helped people on their journey from ambition to achievement and has been an important part of the fabric of communities across America," said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. "We are extremely proud to support Team Citi and to invest in the future of America's best athletes. Making a difference to future Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls is a great way to honor Team USA, give back to our communities and support the Olympic Movement."

"We share in Citi's excitement for its Every Step of the Way program," said Lisa Baird, USOC chief marketing officer. "Citi has created a dynamic program that offers fans of the Olympic and Paralympic Games a meaningful way to connect with athletes. Citi's contribution will leave a lasting impact with the next generation of U.S. hopefuls and athletes across the country."

Already a corporate sponsor of Team USA and the USOC, Citi wanted to do more by creating a way to help fund U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sport Programs that have inspired Citi's team of 13 athletes. Citi also wanted to make it possible for its customers and Olympic fans to get in on the action.

Through the dynamic and interactive Every Step of the Way program, Citi's $500,000 donation is being represented by 50 million ThankYou® Points -- the currency of the Citi ThankYou® Rewards program. This unique program allows the American people to help allocate these ThankYou® Points to Sport Programs through activity on Facebook and Twitter, allowing Team Citi athletes to say "thank you" to the Sport Programs that have inspired them.

"It is truly an honor to be a member of Team Citi with these 12 athletes," said three-time Olympic gold medalist and Team Citi member Rowdy Gaines. "What I like most about what Citi is doing is the fact that they are so creative in trying to do something right for our athletes. To be able to take a $500,000 donation – which translates into 50 million ThankYou Points – to support these Sport Programs is phenomenal. The best part is the ability to connect with fans socially and truly make an impact."

Each member of Team Citi has identified a local Sport Program that inspired his or her journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sport Programs have specific needs that will help a wide range of athletes at different ability levels in communities across the country. The Every Step of the Way program will work to fulfill those needs by allowing individuals to help direct points through every day social media activity to give these programs the resources they need to support the next generation of athletes on their journey from ambition to achievement.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS AND HOW TO JOIN THE MOVEMENT:

Fans can join the movement on Citi's Every Step of the Way Facebook page [hyperlink] and at www.citi.com/everystep. For fans who accept the Every Step of the Way Facebook application, the program will match shared profile interests between fans and Team Citi athletes and suggest a member of Team Citi for the fan to follow, or fans can simply choose one they would like to support.

In addition to selecting an athlete to support, fans who participate through Facebook can also help direct how the 50 million ThankYou Points are allocated through their activity on Facebook and Twitter– using a #CitiEveryStep hashtag, replying to a tweet about the campaign with the hashtag or inviting friends to sign up. For each activity, ThankYou Points from Citi's donation will be directed to the U.S. Olympic or Paralympic Sport Program specific to the fan's Team Citi athlete.

The more a fan participates, the more ThankYou Points they can direct to the Sport Program until its goal is reached. At the end of the program, the USOC will use Citi's donation to give the cash equivalent of the ThankYou Points directly to the Sport Program matched with the Team Citi athlete.

Fast and easy ways to help direct a portion of the 50 million ThankYou Points include:

  • Facebook: After accepting the Facebook application, choose a Team Citi athlete to follow, invite friends to sign up or link your Twitter account to the Facebook application
  • Twitter: After accepting the Facebook application and linking their account to Twitter, fans can help allocate points by sending a tweet using the hashtag #Citieverystep or #everystep. They can also help allocate points through re-tweets and replies to other Twitter users with the hashtags.
  • Citi.com/everystep: On this website, fans can find out more information about the members of Team Citi and the various Sport Programs. Fans can also select an athlete to allocate 25 ThankYou Points toward the Sport Program that has inspired his or her journey and even enter Citi's sweepstakes to win a trip for two for four days and three nights to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
  • Every Step of the Way mobile app: The app, which will launch in June, provides innovative ways for fans to support their athlete, reward the athlete's chosen Sport Program and send messages of encouragement.
  • Incentivized moments: The Every Step of the Way program will offer various incentives to increase engagement with fans to allocate additional ThankYou Points or celebrate U.S Olympic and Paralympic milestones with extra point values.
That is just the start. The Every Step of the Way program also allows fans to make their own contributions, including:
  • ThankYou.com: Starting on April 16, Citi ThankYou members can redeem their personal Citi ThankYou Points to do even more to support these programs. Each of these Sport Programs is a reward option through the Citi ThankYou Rewards Network and additional information can be found at www.ThankYou.com/everystep.
  • Direct cash contribution: Fans can donate directly to the USOC or the Sport Program chosen by a Team Citi athlete via a link to the USOC on the Every Step Facebook page or Citi.com/everystep.
PARTICIPATING SPORT PROGRAMS

The Every Step of the Way program features the Team Citi athletes -- 13 alumni, qualifiers and hopefuls representing a range of sports: swimming, soccer, tennis, triathlon, gymnastics, track & field (Olympic/Paralympic) and sitting volleyball. These athletes were selected by Citi because they exemplify the spirit and mission of the program and have been inspired by their dedicated Sport Programs on their athletic journey.

Team Citi's U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sport Programs include:

    Bob and Mike Bryan, 2008 Olympic bronze medalists, Doubles Tennis
    • The Bryan brothers are working with the National Recreation and Park Association's Tennis in the Parks initiative, which provides fun resources including kid-sized tennis courts and rackets to learn about the game of tennis.
    Dominique Dawes, Three-time Olympian; Olympic gold (1996) and bronze (1992, 1996, 2000) medalist, Gymnastics
    • Dawes is working with the USOC on the development of a Recovery Center with hot and cold plunge baths to assist in athlete recovery time.
    Rowdy Gaines, Three-time Olympic gold medalist (1984), Swimming
    • Gaines is working with the USOC to help raise funds for a hyperoxic swimming lane that will allow athletes to train at varying altitudes.
    Cullen Jones, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Swimming
    • After nearly drowning at the age of 5, Jones has spent years working with USA Swimming Foundation's Make a Splash Initiative and will help to raise funds to support saving lives through swimming lessons.
    Gwen Jorgensen, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team qualifier, Triathlon
    • Jorgensen, a mentor at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, will be working to expand the Clubs' Bike Shop program, which is designed to give bicycles to children in the Greater Milwaukee area whose financial situation prevents them from owning one.
    Meb Keflezighi, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team qualifier; Two-time Olympian and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, Track & Field
    • After suffering from a hip injury in 2007, Keflezighi worked with the USOC Sport Performance division in Colorado Springs. He will help to raise funds for a Sport Performance fellowship position in sports psychology to help hopefuls in their preparation for competition. This fellowship will focus on cutting-edge technology and research in biofeedback, neural training and mental preparation.
    Carlos Leon, 2008 Paralympian, Track & Field
    • Leon, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, will help to raise funds for the Warrior Games, a U.S. Paralympic event that introduces Paralympic sports to injured service members and veterans.
    Danell Leyva, 2012 Olympic hopeful, Gymnastics
    • The youngest member of Team Citi and a 2012 men's gymnastics hopeful, Leyva will help to raise funds for USA Gymnastics Future Stars to provide resources and equipment along with event logistical support. Leyva is a past participant in the program that serves as the elite development pipeline for men's gymnastics.
    Amanda McGrory, 2008 Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medalist, Track & Field
    • McGrory will help to raise funds for the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association to increase outreach, education and programming to identify Paralympic hopefuls and to provide them with coaching and resources to help achieve their dreams.
    Kari Miller, 2008 Paralympic silver medalist, Sitting Volleyball
    • Miller, a former member of the U.S. Army, lost both her legs when her car was struck by a drunk driver. In 2008, she began working with the USOC's Paralympic Military and Veteran Program and currently serves as a program ambassador. She will help to raise funds for the program, which introduces wounded servicemen and women to Paralympic sports.
    Christie Rampone, Three-time Olympian; gold (2004, 2008) and silver (2000) medalist, Soccer
    • Rampone is supporting U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success. Soccer for Success works with children (kindergarten through eighth grade) in underserved communities and provides free afterschool soccer programming three days a week for 24 weeks.
    Sanya Richards-Ross, Two-time Olympian: gold (2004, 2008) and bronze (2008) medalist, Track & Field
    • As one of the first athletes to participate in USA Track & Field's Win With Integrity, Richards-Ross will help to raise funds to support Track in a Box kits for schools across the country. Win With Integrity brings track and field athletes to schools to talk about the positive impact of hard work and the benefits of living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

From saving lives through swimming lessons to providing coaching and equipment for Paralympians, the Every Step of the Way program will have a lasting impact with athletes of all abilities in communities across America.

Citi's Every Step of the Way program will include television and digital advertising, events and promotional opportunities. Television advertisements will debut in mid-May featuring members of Team Citi, and in-market events will be held in retail branches across the U.S. with Team Citi athletes.

About Citi:
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. *Citi's USOC sponsorship and media rights include U.S. corporate and investment banking, retail banking and commercial banking.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @CitiEveryStep | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://new.citi.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About the USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.


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