Airbnb & the iOC host a virtual Olympic games

As the sporting world continues to exist primarily online, this festival offers people a chance to connect with the athletes who inspire them, to hear stories of empowerment and to feel a sense of community.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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This summer plays host to a sporting calendar like no other. Tournaments cancelled, biospheres created, empty stadiums and of course a postponed Olympic Games. While many would say there are bigger issues to contend with that sport, it is almost impossible to overestimate the cultural firepower of sport. From international leagues through to Sunday five-a-side in the park, sport has a unique power to bring people together.

With this in mind to celebrate the Olympics that would have been, Airbnb has teamed up with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to create a five-day virtual festival. The event begins on the 24th July, the day the Tokyo Games were due to start, and will include athlete-led events and activities.

Over 100 athletes will discuss their life under lockdown, sport and ambition. Events will include Stephen Miller, Team GB Paralympian discussing positive thinking and Naomi Osaka, two-time grand slam tennis player, sharing the details of her training regime during COVID-19. As an Olympics sponsor, Airbnb hosted a series of virtual experiences earlier in the year with Olympians Alistair Brownlee and Lauren Gibbs.

This festival is a great platform to unite and inspire the world in the spirit of friendship and solidarity this summer.

Thomas Bach

All proceeds from tickets sold for the Summer Festival of Online Experiences will go directly to the athletes involved, a welcome step taken by Airbnb as many athletes would have seen their income significantly impacted by the crisis.

Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, explained: "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. 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."

As the sporting world continues to exist primarily online, this festival offers people a chance to connect with the athletes who inspire them, to hear stories of empowerment and to feel a sense of community that would ordinarily be felt in the stadiums and on pitches around the world.

Tickets for the Summer Festival of Online Experiences go on sale today (Wednesday 22nd July) on the Airbnb website.