CARROLLTON, Texas, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. Fans can show their support by signing an online petition on the T.G.I. Friday's Facebook fan page as well as the World Bartender Championship web site.
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."
The ten global finalists include six winners from the U.S. divisional level competitions as well as four international winners from Hungary, Japan, Peru and Sweden. To win his/her division, each competitor performed an eight- to ten-minute flairtending demonstration showcasing extreme skill and athleticism. Photos and video footage are available for each of the following winners: Santiago Emeric, Orlando; Andy Hool, Bloomington, Minn.; Brad Kaplan, East Plano, Texas; Jes Perrine, Hanover, Md.; Gabor Stanczik, Wayne, N.J.; and Kristian Mihailin, Las Vegas.
T.G.I. Friday's restaurants offer authentic American food and exciting drinks in an atmosphere that provides an energizing Friday feeling – any day of the week. Friday's guest recognition program, Give Me More Stripes®, rewards our loyal guests with great deals and fun events year-round, creating an engaging customer experience. As the original casual dining restaurant, T.G.I. Friday's differentiates itself with a unique point of view which promises to exhilarate its guests with the feeling of Friday. T.G.I. Friday's, which operates more than 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries, is also famous for its knowledgeable and charismatic bartenders, approximately 8,000 of whom compete annually for the title of the "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World."