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Men’s figure skating world silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi has tied up a contract with the Japanese Olympic Committee and joined the “Symbol Athlete” sponsorship program, the JOC said Monday. Speed skater Tomomi Okazaki renewed her contract and is among nine winter and summer athletes in the JOC’s program. The program is aimed at luring lucrative sponsorship deals in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with the use of top athletes’ image rights controlled by the national Olympic body.

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