Airbnb, IOC and IPC announce athlete experiences program

Leading Olympic and Paralympic sponsor Airbnb unveiled a program of more than 200 experiences that will allow people to meet and interact with athletes.

With fans banned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is hoped the initiative will connect people to the Games and bring them as close to the action as possible.

The experiences available span 50 sports and 30 countries, with Tokyo 2020 athletes, sport legends from the past and refugee team members all involved.

It is possible to connect with stars such as American surfer John John Florence, Tongan taekwondo player Pita Taufatoufa and British skateboarder Sky Brown.

British triathlete Jonny Brownlee and American mountaineer Alex Honnold are among the other athletes currently involved.

In the legends camp are American basketball greats Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird, track hero Michael Johnson and multiple Canadian Paralympic swimming champion Benoît Huot.

Away from the athletes, the people of Japan will offer experiences of the country’s culture that people can enjoy without leaving their living room.

Proceeds from the experiences will provide athletes with another source of income as they seek to complete their careers.

“Given the current circumstances, we wanted to create a unique alternative to bring together athletes and fans while maintaining the same sense of discovery and exclusivity,” said Kirsty Coventry, outgoing IOC Athletes’ Commission President. .

“The Olympic and Paralympic Experiences Platform is a fantastic opportunity for athletes to build a personal relationship with their fans and feel their support, while the platform will also bring the incredible Olympic spirit to people around the world.

“As part of our efforts to empower athletes at all stages of their careers, the positive response to last year’s activities has indeed confirmed that offering athletes the opportunity to host such experiences offers them new opportunities. significant opportunities. “

Airbnb was confirmed as a member of the flagship sponsorship program of the IOC, the Olympic partner in November 2019.

Basketball star Scottie Pippen is one of the athletes involved in the initiative © Getty Images
Basketball star Scottie Pippen is one of the athletes involved in the initiative © Getty Images

The deal is worth around $ 500million (£ 363million / € 423million) in cash and in-kind and covers the next five Olympics, starting with Tokyo 2020 here.

As part of the deal, Airbnb also automatically became a global partner of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

“With the number of spectators being different this year, the public is looking for new ways to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes during Tokyo 2020,” said Catherine Powell, Global Head of Accommodation, Airbnb.

“Airbnb is about creating unique experiences that connect people, and Olympic and Paralympic online experiences make fans feel closer to their heroes than ever before.

“These interactive activities will provide an intimate window into the Games, all made possible by the 200+ athletes who join our host community this summer.”

IPC Chairman Andrew Parsons added: “When the Tokyo Games were postponed last year, Airbnb outdid themselves.

“The creation of the online Olympic and Paralympic experiences platform has not only enabled many para-athletes to share their passions with people around the world, but has also provided them with a valuable source of income in the absence of competition.

“Now the biggest Paralympic Games in history are upon us, and I am delighted to see so many para-athletes on the Airbnb Experiences platform, including the amazing athletes from our Paralympic Refugee Team.

“I encourage people to take this rare opportunity to see the Games up close and personally with the stars of the show.”

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