Finding out the Tokyo Olympics were postponed a year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was definitely hard to hear for spectators and athletes alike. The opening ceremonies were supposed to take place on July 24 — but instead, we'll have to wait until 2021 (and for good reason: to stop the spread of the virus and keep people safe). However, to help mitigate those feelings of world stage deprivation, Airbnb is hosting an Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences summer festival that will last five days through July 29, starting with an "opening act" on the same day as the would-be Tokyo opening ceremonies.
These activities, run by Airbnb Experiences platform and hosted by veteran or incoming Olympians and Paralympians, will take place through Zoom. You can expect workouts, cooking classes, and lecture-type talks with athletes. Events will cost on average $25, according to a spokesperson, and will include a session with Olympic sprinting icon Allyson Felix about returning to sport after childbirth, seeing tennis star Naomi Osaka train, and other activities from US Paralympian Lex Gillette, beach volleyball's Kerri Walsh Jennings, UK triathlon's Jonny Brownlee, and South African surfer Jordy Smith. Bookings for the festival open up on Wednesday, July 22, and all of the proceeds will go to the athletes hosting the events.
Details about the opening act are still forthcoming, but the spokesperson revealed that it will cost money as well. Airbnb Experiences are typically limited to a maximum of 10 guests, they explained, but there will be some festival events "that are more conducive to larger crowds" with a capacity for 20 or more people. Spectators will also be able to watch some of these events live or on replay on Airbnb and Olympic YouTube channels, according to a press release, and select hosts will continue to offer their activities through Airbnb Experiences after the festival ends.
"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," Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia said in a statement. To find out more and to sign up for these experiences come July 22 with an Airbnb account, go to airbnb.com/festival.