A virtual experience with an American athlete [Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb to host summer festival of Olympic / Paralympic virtual experiences

US: With the 2020 Olympics postponed until next year at the earliest, Airbnb has partnered with the International Olympic Committee [IOC] and International Paralympic Committee [IPC] to offer a summer festival of virtual experiences.

The experiences will be hosted by various athletes and will hope to recreate the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The events will be available for booking on 22 July, led by such athletes as Naomi Osaka, Jonny Brownlee, Rui Hachimura, Allyson Felix, and Kerri Walsh Jennings. The programming will run for five days, across multiple world time zones.

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said: “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. 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.”

The groups hope to continue these online experiences, as a chance to provide additional income for Olympic athletes. These will provide direct earnings for athletes who have reduced income as a result of many sports halting,

Airbnb aims to promote many of its Japan-centric online experiences, such as visits to a sake brewery, ramen lessons, and a tour of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward. It has been heavily promoting its virtual experiences during the pandemic, partnering with other companies, such as Bumble, to expand their offerings.

In addition, the platform is seeking to highlight the dedication and inspirational stories of many athletes, particularly those of Paralympians.

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, said: “Paralympians and Para athletes are masters of innovation and finding creative solutions to daily challenges they face. 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.”

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