LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb are announcing a five-day summer festival featuring more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences hosted virtually by some of the world’s best athletes.
The festival of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences will kick off on 24 July, when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were originally scheduled to begin, and is an opportunity for athletes to generate income while they share their passion for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their sport with guests.
“The Olympic Games bring the whole world together and, whilst we will all have to wait one more year to celebrate in Tokyo, the Olympic flame continues to be the light at the end of the dark tunnel humankind is currently going through,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “It demonstrates that we are stronger together. This festival is a great platform to unite and inspire the world in the spirit of friendship and solidarity this summer. The IOC puts the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and supports them at every stage of their journey. We are delighted to collaborate with Airbnb to provide innovative economic empowerment opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic athletes around the world.”
Throughout the five days of programming across multiple time zones, the line-up will showcase a variety of interactive Online Experiences that guests can book on Airbnb from 22 July. Spectators can also watch select Online Experiences live or on replay on the Airbnb Olympic and Paralympic YouTube channels.
While many hosts will continue to offer their activities after the event ends, like the art of reinvention with Olympian Simidele Adeagbo (skelton, Nigeria) and positive thinking with Paralympic hero Stephen Miller (athletics, Great Britain), several will be once-in-a-lifetime Online Experiences available exclusively during the festival*, like:
25 July: Build resilience to overcome obstacles with Yusra Mardini (swimming, IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016); learn about returning to sport after motherhood with Allyson Felix (athletics, USA); and work up a sweat in an inclusive session with Tatyana McFadden (athletics, USA)
26 July: Cook up a storm with legend Colin Jackson (athletics, Great Britain); join a scenic training ride with Jonny Brownlee (triathlon, Great Britain); discover velodrome secrets with Elia Viviani (track cycling, Italy)
27 July: Chat mind, body and spirit with Jackie Joyner-Kersee (athletics, USA); push through boundaries and level up in life with Meb Keflezighi (marathon, USA); get vulnerable to unlock greatness with Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball, USA); and Zumba beachside in paradise with Tom Hintnaus (athletics, Brazil)
28 July: Get a glimpse into quarantine training with two-time Grand Slam-winning Naomi Osaka (tennis, Japan); run, breathe and connect with world-record sprinter Zhenye Xie (athletics, China); learn a Grand Slam-inspired training regime with Sania Mirza (tennis, India); and master perseverance with Pita Taufatofua (taekwondo and cross-country skiing, Tonga)
29 July: Fall in love with sneaker culture with Rui Hachimura (basketball, Japan); get up close and personal at home with Jordy Smith (surfing, South Africa); see beyond the boundaries of vision with blind champion Lex Gillette (athletics, USA)
“At a time when it is difficult for people to gather and celebrate the exceptional performance of athletes, Airbnb is proud to host the summer festival, which is a new way to experience the Olympic and Paralympic spirit online,” said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia. “Guests will be able to connect and interact with some of the most elite competitors within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, giving them even more reasons to cheer them on next year.”
While the festival will give fans unprecedented global access to connect with athletes from over 20 countries and regions, all from the comfort of their homes, numerous Online Experiences in the line-up will also meaningfully promote:
Economic opportunities for athletes: Just as Online Experiences were launched as a way for hosts to earn money during the global pandemic, Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences are a new platform to provide direct earning opportunities for athletes, underlining the efforts of the IOC, the IPC and Airbnb to support athletes, and to put them at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.
Resilience through adversity: Numerous athlete hosts will inspire perseverance through their Online Experiences, like Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer who became a member of the first ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team in 2016 and whose story became known for saving 20 lives with her sister, including their own lives, during a treacherous journey from Syria to find safety in Europe, who will host a one-off workshop on resilience. Another inspiring option is co-hosted by Tegla Loroupe, Chef de Mission for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, and Rio 2016 Olympian, IOC Refugee Olympic Team hopeful for Tokyo 2020 James Chiengjiek Nyang, as they will welcome guests will transport guests virtually to the Tegla Loroupe Training Centre in Kenya. Tegla has been the guide and mentor to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. Learn more about the IOC Refugee Olympic Team here.
The world-class hospitality of Japan: In addition to the Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences, and as a way to celebrate Tokyo 2020, local hosts in Japan will offer guests a way to travel the country and explore its cultures and traditions from their living rooms. Through support from Shibuya City Tourism Association, local hosts will lead a package of unique online activities like Become a Ramen Expert and A Tour of Historic Shibuya. Other ways to be virtually transported to Japan will include Sake Secrets from Japan's Oldest Brewery and Explore Kyoto Where Unique Old Gods Live.
"Paralympians and Para athletes are masters of innovation and finding creative solutions to daily challenges they face,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons. "The summer festival of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences celebrates this tenacity and gives Para athletes a platform to share their stories to empower others, while also offering a new earning opportunity especially needed during these difficult times."
If fans miss the chance to participate in the five-day event, many athletes will continue to host their Experiences – both online and in person in countries where it’s safe and permissible to do so – with even more to be added to Airbnb in the coming months and years.