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T.G.I. Friday's goes for the gold: launches campaign to send bartending to the Olympics

Bartending as an Olympic sport? From keg-lifting to synchronized flairtending, bartenders around the globe have been world class athletes since the first cocktail was poured. And now, their time has come. T.G.I. Friday's, the global casual dining leader and home to the World Bartender Championship (WBC), has just named its WBC finalists and is now setting its sights on the Olympics.

Together with Brian Zachau, the 2009 T.G.I. Friday's Greatest Bartender in the World, Friday's has petitioned the International Olympic Committee requesting official recognition of bartending as the next Olympic sport. As the top Friday's bartenders prepare for the WBC world finals in Dallas on March 14, 2011, support from their fans could send them to London, Rio and beyond.

T.G.I. Friday's World Bartender Championship started twenty years ago as a one-off challenge between bartenders and has since grown into a full representation of the Friday's brand. Each year more than 8,000 bartenders showcase their knowledge, skill and flair-style bartending in WBC competitions which originate at the local store level. WBC illustrates the athletic ability of bartenders around the globe and combines charismatic style that is met only by figure skaters and gymnasts.

"What other sport requires ten-hour routines, absolute precision and a fully-memorized playbook? Bartending can be a whole new playing field for Olympic sport," said Trey Hall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of T.G.I. Friday's. "Twenty years of World Bartender Championships have shown that bartenders at Friday's are no stranger to athletic competition, and our newly awarded 2010 finalists are no different. As a federation of thousands, the sport is ready to go for the gold."

With more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, including approximately 600 restaurants in the U.S., T.G.I. Friday's offers, it says, great food, innovative drinks and a unique experience filled with flair and a Thank God It's Friday's™ attitude. The company is owned by Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., a privately held company belonging to Minneapolis-based Carlson, a world leader in the hospitality, travel and marketing industries. (kbp)

T.G.I. Friday's (USA)

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