Blind gold medallist Lex Gillette leaps into the air with the effortless of ease being an elite athlete. But he won’t be able to reach for the sky this year in Tokyo now that COVID-19 put an end to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
While there is no chance for Olympians and Paralympians like Lex to notch up more medals, the athletes must be in a world of pain with their life-long dreams dashed.
Now, thanks to a festival put on by Airbnb, the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee, we can still support our champion athletes.
A five-day festival which kicked off on July 24 features more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences.
Joe Gebbia, Airbnb Co-Founder said ‘at a time when it is difficult for people to gather and celebrate the exceptional performance of athletes’, the festival will mean the Olympic and Paralympic spirit can live 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,” Joe Gebbia added.
Thomas Bach, President of the IOC: “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.
“It’s a great platform to unite and inspire the world in the spirit of friendship and solidarity this summer. The IOC puts the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and supports them at every stage of their journey.”
The festival of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences began on July 24, when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were originally scheduled to begin, and is an opportunity for athletes to generate income while they share their passion for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their sport with guests.
“Olympians have so many talents and stories to share that helped them reach the biggest sporting event in the world.”Daniel Kowalski, Olympic Swimmer, and Olympian Services Manager at the AOC:
Aussie athletes will be heavily involved in the festival, including Goal Setting with diver Matthew Mitcham, A Cup of Productivity with canoeist Alyce Wood, Calligraphy Qigong on a Beautiful Beach with wheelchair basketball player Adam Deans, Goal Setting with a Paralympic Champion with sprinter Evan O’Hanlon and Pilates with swimmer Frances Sarah Collins.
Matt Carroll, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), said: “Australian Olympians have been inspiring our community with their passion, commitment and character during this pandemic. Airbnb has provided an opportunity for Olympians to share their journey first hand, bringing the Australian and global community closer than ever to the Olympic spirit.”
You can even select Online Experiences live or on replay them on Airbnb and Olympic YouTube channels.
For more information on the festival line-up, visit airbnb.com/festival.