Jessica Shaw
March 15, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Let the games begin” will take on a whole new meaning during the Atlanta ’96 Olympics. On the list of more than 40 companies — including soft-drink, fast-food, and computer businesses — sponsoring the Centennial Games, you’ll also find syndicated game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. ”It’s certainly a unique sponsorship,” says Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games spokesman Scott Mall. ”But it comes down to the fact that any sponsorship is a marriage. It makes sense for them, and it makes sense for us.” This doesn’t mean discus throwers will be wearing Pat Sajak patches on their shorts, but starting April 22, the game shows will, among other things, be offering Olympic merchandise on air to raise money for the U.S. team. That same month, Wheel will be broadcasting shows from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. ”The reason Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! have defied gravity and remained popular all these years is that we are constantly evolving with the times,” says Don Prijatel, a spokesman for King World, which distributes the TV games. ”And Alex Trebek is a fan.”

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