BEIJING, CHINA (BUSINESS WIRE) – Olympic athletes taking part in the Lenovo “Voices of the Olympic Games” blogging program have found that blogging creates deeper connections with fans worldwide – many they did not even know existed.

Lenovo is offering a blogging program and website for athletes participating in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The program builds on a historic shift in the Olympic movement, because these are the first Olympic Games where athletes are blogging during the competition time period itself.

Some of the leading bloggers among the more than 100 athletes in the program agree that blogs are a way to provide insight into the minds of athletes as they train and compete – an inside look into their lives, behavior and training that fans cannot get anywhere else.

Lenovo has provided IdeaPad and other notebook PCs and video cameras to more than 100 athletes from more than 25 countries and 29 sports who are participating in the program. To date, there have been 1,374 athlete postings on the forum, reaching more than 8.5 million Olympic fans through conversations on third-party blogs and social media sites.

From Beijing, Carissa Gump, a U.S. Olympic weightlifter, said athlete blogs are even more popular than she had expected. “It’s because people get to know us better, find out so much more information about us, giving us more exposure. Readers feel like they have a connection to us personally.”

Until 2008, athletes were allowed to write blogs only until the opening day of the Olympic Games, and could then resume their blogs after the conclusion of the Games. This year, new regulations from the International Olympic Committee enable athletes to write blogs about their experiences off the field of play during the actual 17 days of competition.

Lenovo is a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Torch Relay, providing more than 30,000 pieces of computing equipment to manage the operations of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Lenovo began offering personal computing technology to athletes in April 2008.

“Lenovo’s goal with this blogger program is to give athletes a starting point for discussions and sharing of ideas and experiences about the Olympic Games,” said David Churbuck, vice president, Global Web Marketing. “It isn’t really a program about making millions of impressions in the traditional marketing sense – it’s about making thousands of connections between athletes and fans.”