McDonald’s USA is offering a special opportunity for young people from across the country to attend the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February as a McDonald’s Champion Kid (MCK) and hometown correspondent.

Olympic Gold Medal gymnast and MCK Ambassador, Shawn Johnson, joins McDonald’s in inviting 11-14 year-olds to enter an online contest at for a chance to become a McDonald’s Champion Kid. As part of a larger global McDonald’s Champion Kids program, the selected U.S. kids will attend Olympic Winter Games sporting events, meet athletes and kids from around the world, tour the cultural sights of Vancouver and Whistler, and share their stories and perspectives about the Games with their local communities back home.

“The McDonald’s Champion Kids program is a dream-come-true opportunity for young people to attend the Vancouver Games and to inspire people everywhere to appreciate the Olympic Spirit through their eyes,” says Neil Golden, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, McDonald’s USA.

“This program is one of many ways we aim to bring joy and fun to families every day.”

The online contest will be open for entries beginning September 30, 2009 through October 30, 2009. Kids ages 11-14 (with parent or guardian consent) are eligible to submit an online essay and video or photo to demonstrate what the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect mean to them, and explain why they should be chosen to represent their hometown as a McDonald’s Champion Kid.

Entries will be judged by a panel of Olympic athletes, including Johnson, along with Alpine snowboarder Graham Watanabe, freestyle mogul skier Patrick Deneen, speed skaters Jennifer Rodriguez and J.R. Chelski, and basketball greats Alonzo Mourning and Dwight Howard.

In addition, McDonald’s is working with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), an organization encouraging kids to strive for excellence and teamwork while being physically active, to assist with the contest judging.

“I will never forget the magical feeling of my first Olympic Games,” Johnson says. “To serve as the U.S. Ambassador of the McDonald’s Champion Kids program and give 10 lucky kids a chance to experience the world’s greatest sporting event is an honor. I can’t wait to meet them in Vancouver.”

The McDonald’s Champion Kids program debuted at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to children’s well-being. The program was created to inspire children to become more physically active and to enable kids from across the globe to travel and experience the Games first-hand.

During the 2008 Summer Games, more than 200 kids from 40 countries traveled to Beijing for an opportunity to experience the Games, meet athletes, visit the Olympic Village and view the wonders of China. In addition, many of the kids served as hometown correspondents reporting their stories and experiences back to their local media outlets.

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