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Olympians to Gather and 'Share the Spirit' at the Visa Olympians Reunion Center in Athens - Five-Time Olympian HSH Crown Prince Albert of Monaco Announces Details

    MONACO and SAN FRANCISCO, CA (ots) - Five-time Olympian, HSH Crown Prince Albert of Monaco, today announced his continuing support and involvement in the Visa Olympians Reunion Center and invited all Olympic alumni to enjoy ongoing hospitality during their visit to the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in August 2004.

    "Thanks to Visa, Olympians from around the world once more will have a place of their own -- to gather, renew old friendships and share their unique experiences while attending the Olympic Games in Athens next year," HSH Crown Prince Albert said today at a special media event at SPORTELMonaco. "Visa's support of the Reunion Center through the past two Olympic Games continues to promote the Olympic spirit and ideals. I say 'thank you Visa' on behalf of all Olympians."

    As a five-time Olympian member of the WOA, Prince Albert is the International Spokesperson for the Visa Olympians Reunion Centre, working with the WOA to invite Olympians from around the world to visit Athens during the games.

    "This will be the most exclusive club in town, created by Visa expressly for Olympians." said Tom Shepard, executive vice president, Global Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorship, Visa International. "With its central downtown location in Athens, the Visa Olympians Reunion Center will be a lively place for the world's Olympians to congregate and enjoy hospitality and will serve as a focal point for Olympic alumni to enjoy the full range of Olympic Family activities. Visa is proud to be the founder of this important program and proud of its continuing support to Olympic alumni world-wide."

    Designed specifically for the use of Olympic alumni, the Reunion Center was first developed by Visa International for the 1996 Games in Atlanta and served again, in Sydney and Salt Lake City, to enhance the Games' experience for all visiting Olympians. More than 5,700 individual Olympians and their family members visited the Sydney Center, while more than 2,500 visited the Center in Salt Lake City, the first at an Olympic Winter Games. Now part of an Olympic tradition, the Visa Olympians Reunion Center program in Athens is based on a partnership between the IOC, the World Olympians Association, the Hellenic Olympians Association and Visa, the founding partner.

    The Visa Olympians Reunion Center will be located in downtown Athens in an historical area close to the National Gardens. The Visa Olympians Reunion Center will celebrate its Grand Opening with a special program in August prior to the opening of the Athens Olympic Games, and will remain open throughout the 17 days of the ATHOC 2004 Olympic Games.

    "The Visa Olympians Reunion Center is a critical part of our focus at the Olympic Games," remarked Pál Schmitt, President of the World Olympians Association (WOA), the international alumni organization founded by the International Olympic Committee. "We are proud to work together with Visa on the Visa Olympians Reunion Center project. This is an example of how a sponsor can impact the Olympic movement productively and work positively to expand every Olympian's opportunity to continue their involvement within the Olympic Family. We are very grateful to Visa for its ongoing commitment to the Olympic movement, and in particular for this program which has benefited thousands of Olympians since its inception at the 1996 Atlanta Games." Mr. Schmitt also serves as Chief of Protocol for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Olympians are invited to pre-register for the Visa Olympians Reunion Center on the Internet by going to the World Olympians Association website at . They will be able to get updated information on the Center and other activities of the World Olympians Association.

    About Visa Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating US$2.5 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce -- the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit

ots Originaltext: Visa International

Michael Sherman
Phone    650-432-3923

Roz Barder
Phone    44-207-795-5336

Norbert Beatty
Phone    212-537-8131

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