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IBM distracts Olympic athletes with email

Brit swimmers are probably up for it

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IBM plans to keep athletes busy at this year's Olympic Games.

That's if the world's sporting elite find themselves with time to spare between limbering up for races in their hectic schedule.

IBM has set up two Internet cafés at the games - one floating in Sydney's Darling harbour for the general public, and another in the Olympic village solely for athletes.

Both apparently resemble a beach to fit in with the Ozzie theme, and are decorated with oversized surfboards. Each holds around 50 PCs.

IBM wants fans to email their favourite athletes - individually or in teams - for free through its FanMail Website. It then expects sportsmen and
women to reply to these notes of cyber-adoration.

No mean feat - at the Nagano Olympic Winter Games in 1998 fans from 126 countries sent more than 300,000 messages to weary athletes.

But Big Blue sees the Surf Shacks as useful relaxing tools for the 10,000 athletes at this year's games. "They can get their mind off things - and the
Internet is the perfect way to do it," said one IBM representative. ®

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