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Home Depot Hails Its Employee Athletes

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ATLANTA The Home Depot trumpets its status as the nation's largest employer of Olympic athletes in a new advertising campaign scheduled to launch during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games Feb. 10.

The work, created by the independent Richards Group in Dallas, features several of the athletes in 30- and 60-second spots that will run on NBC broadcast and cable networks throughout the games. The effort includes a Web site with news about the athletes as well as their entries about daily activities. A promotional tie-in with General Electric offers a chance to win a weekend of training with one of the athletes.

The spots use the voice of a child to explain that Olympic and Paralympic athletes are superheroes with superhuman talents. The concluding narration: "A superhero has a secret identity. The Home Depot is proud to employ more Olympic and Paralympic superheroes than any other company in the world."

The Home Depot has a program that allows athletes to adjust their work schedules to accommodate their training. It currently employs 33 athletes who have qualified for the games, a record number for the Atlanta-based company. Since 1992, the company has employed 283 Olympic athletes who have earned a total of 171 medals, including 75 gold, 59 silver and 37 bronze.