Back in March, when so many people were confident the world would be back up and running by Memorial Day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to postpone the Olympic Games in Tokyo. While this was probably devastating to the thousands of athletes around the world who were training for these Olympics, we know now that it was the right call, given that the COVID-19 pandemic still isn’t under control.
Fans of the Olympics may also be looking to fill that five-ring-sized hole in their hearts this summer. If you’re in that category, Airbnb, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have teamed up to bring the athletes into your home in different ways (though, still through a screen). Here’s what to know.
How to virtually spend time with Olympic athletes
This virtual event, featuring more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian online experiences, started on July 25 and goes through July 30. But even after that, many of the participating athletes will continue to offer experiences, including the art of reinvention with Olympian Simidele Adeagbo (skeleton, Nigeria) and positive thinking with Paralympic hero Stephen Miller (athletics, Great Britain). And yes, there are athletic-based activities, but there are also plenty of offerings on other aspects of mental and physically well-being.
The idea of the program isn’t just to give fans the chance to interact with their favourite Olympians, but also provide the athletes with a source of income (most don’t have multi-million-dollar endorsement deals).
One of the best parts about this program is that participating in the experiences with athletes live — and getting to interact with them — starts at $15. And if you miss one, it sells out too quickly, or you just want to be a spectator, you can watch the video of the experience for free after the event. For example, here’s the video of their opening act.
To book an experience, watch one that has already happened, or learn more, check out the website.