Lex Gillette, gold medalist Paralympian hosts an Airbnb Online Experience.

Airbnb, IOC and IPC announce festival of Online Experiences

  • With the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 postponed until 2021, Airbnb, the IOC, and the IPC will bring the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics online with a curated program of activities hosted by athletes for the first time in history.
  • Bookings for the five-day event will open on July 22, with more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences offered by Naomi Osaka, Yusra Mardini, Rui Hachimura, Allyson Felix, Lex Gillette, and others.
  • Aussie athletes will be involved in the festival, including Goal Setting with diver Matthew Mitcham and A Cup of Productivity with canoeist Alyce Burnett.
  • Fans who book will proudly support their heroes ahead of Tokyo 2020, as proceeds will provide valuable income to athlete hosts, now and beyond the festival, including some who are on the road to their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

Airbnb, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are announcing a five-day festival featuring more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences hosted virtually by some of the world’s best athletes. The festival will kick off with a special opening act co-hosted by inspirational athletes Colin Jackson, Pita Taufatofua and Dame Tanni-Grey Thompson on July 24, when the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were originally scheduled to begin, and will conclude with a closing act hosted by skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, along with his legendary and Olympic hopeful friends.

Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences is an opportunity for athletes to generate income while they share their passion for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their sport with guests.

Olympian Naomi Osaka will be hosting an Airbnb Online Experience.

“At a time when it is difficult for people to gather and celebrate the exceptional performance of athletes, Airbnb is proud to host the 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,” said Joe Gebbia, Airbnb Co-Founder.

Aussie athletes will be heavily involved in the festival, including Goal Setting with diver Matthew Mitcham, A Cup of Productivity with canoeist Alyce Burnett, 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.

The AOC is thrilled Airbnb is partnering with the Olympic movement to connect the global community with Olympians through unique experiences. Australian Olympians have been inspiring people with their passion, commitment and character during this pandemic. Airbnb has provided an opportunity for Olympians to share their journey firsthand, bringing the Australian and global community closer than ever to the Olympic spirit,” said Matt Carroll, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

Throughout the five days of programming across multiple time zones, the lineup will showcase a variety of interactive Online Experiences that guests can book* on Airbnb from July 22. Spectators can also watch select Online Experiences live or on replay on Airbnb and Olympic and Paralympic YouTube channels. While many hosts will continue to offer their activities after the event ends, like the art of reinvention with Olympian Simidele Adeagbo (skelton, Nigeria) and positive thinking with Paralympic hero Stephen Miller (athletics, Great Britain), several will be once-in-a-lifetime Online Experiences available exclusively during the festival**, like:

“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. The IOC puts the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and supports them at every stage of their journey. We are delighted to collaborate with Airbnb to provide innovative economic empowerment opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic athletes around the world,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

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

While the festival will give fans unprecedented global access to connect with athletes from over 20 countries and regions all from the comfort of their homes, numerous Online Experiences in the lineup will also meaningfully promote:

Economic opportunities for athletes 

As Online Experiences launched as a way for hosts to earn money during the global pandemic, Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences is a new platform to provide direct earning opportunities for athletes, underlining the efforts of Airbnb, the IOC, and the IPC to support athletes, and to put them at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.

Resilience through adversity

Numerous athlete hosts will inspire perseverance through their Online Experiences, like Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer who became a member of the first ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team in 2016 and whose story became known for saving 20 lives with her sister, including their own lives, during a treacherous journey from Syria to find safety in Europe, who will host a one-off workshop on resilience. 

Another inspiring option is co-hosted by Tegla Loroupe, Chef de Mission for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, and Rio 2016 Olympian, IOC Refugee Olympic Team hopeful for Tokyo 2020 James Chiengjiek Nyang, as they will welcome guests will transport guests virtually to the Tegla Loroupe Training Centre in Kenya. Tegla has been  the guide and mentor to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

The world-class hospitality of Japan

In addition to the Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences and as a way to celebrate Tokyo 2020, local hosts in Japan will offer guests a way to travel and explore the cultures and traditions of the country from their living rooms. Through support from Shibuya City Tourism Association, local hosts will lead a package of unique online activities like Become a Ramen Expert and A Tour of Historic Shibuya. Other ways to virtually transport to Japan will include Sake Secrets from Japan’s Oldest Brewery and Explore Kyoto Where Unique Old Gods Live.

For more information on the festival lineup, visit airbnb.com/festival. If fans miss the chance to participate in the five-day event, many athletes will continue to host their Experiences—both online and in-person in countries where it’s safe and permissible to do so—with even more that will be added to Airbnb in the coming months and years. Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are interested in sharing their passions with guests to earn supplemental income can learn more and sign up to become a host here. 

*To book, users must update the Airbnb app available on iOS and Android.
**Final lineup for the Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences may be subject to change.