Digital festival offers fans first-hand experiences with Olympians

Dinner with Colin Jackson? A Naomi Osaka-led workout? Count us in. The festival, held in conjunction with Airbnb, offers yoga, surf lessons, motherhood advice and so much more -- all from Olympians and Paralympians.

How does a dinner party with Olympic silver medal-winning hurdler Colin Jackson sound? Or making a flower crown with world champion surfer Carissa Moore? Want to learn Qigong yoga from Paralympic tennis player Adam Kellerman?

Those are just a few of many unique offerings featured in the Airbnb Summer Festival of Olympic and Paralympic Online Experiences, set to be held 24-29 July.

More than 100 Olympians and Paralympians are set to connect with fans in a way they never have before, including tennis star Naomi Osaka, Olympic legends Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Meb Keflezighi, triathlon superstar Jonny Brownlee, Paralympic silver medallist Lex Gillette and many, many more.

IOC and Airbnb announce major global Olympic partnership

IOC and Airbnb announce major global Olympic partnership

“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.”

Fans will be linked with athletes from over 20 different countries as many of them prepare for the delayed start of Tokyo 2020, pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Via bespoke video linkups, fans can choose which experience they’d like with a particular Olympian or Paralympian. Sign-ups are now open here.

“How do you think your life would be if you were blind? Stop wondering and experience it with me!” writes Gillette, an American who has four Paralympic medals to his name in the long jump. “I know you’re wondering, so we’re going to discuss how I train and compete as a totally blind athlete.”

The six-day digital festival is the kick-off for such experiences in the months and years to come, with more to be added in the near future.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Jackie Joyner-Kersee hosts a chat discussing mind, body and spirit; Yusra Mardini of the Refugee Olympic Team talks about overcoming obstacles and building resilience; and Osaka, the two-time Grand Slam tennis champion, gives you a glimpse inside her quarantine workout routine.

Also on offer:
—Returning to sport after motherhood with Allyson Felix
—Working up a sweat with Tatyana McFadden
—Discovering velodrome secrets with Elia Viviani
—A Zumba class in “paradise” with Tom Hintnaus
—Getting “up close and personal” with Jordy Smith

Allyson Felix with daughter Camryn
Allyson Felix with daughter CamrynAllyson Felix with daughter Camryn

“I want to give you an inside look into my past and story, my competitions, my ups and downs, and my training for Tokyo 2020,” explained Smith, a South African surfer who has already sealed his qualification for Tokyo 2020.

Quarantine to-do list includes learning karate? Let American karate master Sakura Kokumai help.

"The karate workout can be tailored to all levels of experience, and I can introduce karate moves during the session that will help with your upper body strength, lower body strength, balance, and breathing," said Kokumai, who was the USA's first karate Olympian after the sport was added to the Olympic programme. "You don't have to know anything about karate to do this. It’s a perfect way to get a full-body workout at home!"

The experiences offer athletes a way to earn money during a global pandemic while also connecting them in a first-of-its-kind way to fans around the world. Local hosts will also show the world-class hospitality of next summer’s host nation, Japan.

Other athlete names to know who are hosting experiences: Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk; basketball star Rui Hachimura; African skeleton racer Simidele Adeagbo; diver Matthew Mitcham; fencer Miles Chamley Watson and many, many more.

Connect with the world’s best athletes like never before. Sign up at Airbnb.com/festival to interact directly with your favourite athletes during the five-day festival of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences.

You can watch the following experiences on the Olympic YouTube Channel:

24 July: Opening Act with Colin Jackson, Pita Taufatofua and Tanni Grey-Thompson. 7 p.m. UTC/9 p.m. Madrid/noon LA

25 July: Overcoming hardship with Yusra Mardini. 5 p.m. UTC/7 p.m. Madrid/10 a.m. LA

Life lessons with Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix. 11 p.m. UTC/1 a.m. 26 July Madrid/4 p.m. LA

Story time with Mary Wineberg. 1 a.m. UTC 26 July/3 a.m. 26 July Madrid/6 p.m. LA

26 July: Become resourceful with Pita Taufatofua. 9 a.m. UTC/11 a.m. Madrid/2 a.m. LA

Cycle the virtual globe with Jonny Brownlee. 3 p.m. UTC/5 p.m. Madrid/8 a.m. LA

27 July: Join a dinner party with Colin Jackson. 11 a.m. UTC/1 p.m. Madrid/4 a.m. LA

28 July: Train with Naomi Osaka. 11 p.m. UTC/1 a.m. 29 July Madrid/4 p.m. LA

29 July: Up your sneaker game with Rui Hachimura. 12:01 a.m. UTC 30 July/2 a.m. 30 July Madrid/5 p.m. LA

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