Get to know tennis star Naomi Osaka, British triathlete Jonny Brownlee, and more in Airbnb's online event.

By Alison Fox
July 16, 2020
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FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty

The Olympics may be canceled this year, but Airbnb is determined to bring the spirit of the games to people’s living rooms.

The home rental site will be holding a five-day festival will feature more than 100 Olympic and Paralympic experiences and is set to kick off on July 24 — when the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were originally expected to start before they were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Events to celebrate the epic games include a scenic training ride with British triathlete Jonny Brownlee and a behind-the-scenes look at what training with tennis star Naomi Osaka looks like.

“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,” Airbnb Co-Founder Joe Gebbia said in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure. “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.”

The experiences, which can be booked starting July 22, go beyond the actual sports of the Olympics and allow fans to get to know the competitors behind the amazing feats of athleticism. As part of the festival, guests can learn about how to return to sports after becoming a mother from American sprinter Allyson Felix or even learn to cook with British athlete Colin Jackson.

Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer who competed under the IOC Refugee Olympic Team in 2016 and who helped save more than a dozen people during the dangerous journey from Syria, will also host a discussion on resilience and overcoming obstacles.

The games were supposed to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, but have been postponed until 2021. Japan initially declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures in early April and even started lifting restrictions by mid-May. But earlier this month, Tokyo moved to close nightclubs due to rising case numbers, offering to pay clubs that agreed to close.

“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,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “This festival is a great platform to unite and inspire the world in the spirit of friendship and solidarity this summer.”

In addition to getting your fix of the Olympics, Airbnb will offer several local Japanese experiences to get travelers excited for next year’s games, including learning how to become a ramen expert and “Sake Secrets from Japan's Oldest Brewery.”