Over the next eight years, the Athlete Travel Grants programme will offer up to 500 athletes per year a USD 2,000 Airbnb credit to use for travel-related accommodation costs linked to their sporting careers.
Kirsty Coventry, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, said: “The athletes are the heart of the Olympic Movement, and we work with all stakeholders to support them at every stage of their career. In addition to the funding and programmes provided thanks to the overall Worldwide TOP Programme and Olympic Solidarity, we have been working with TOP Partners to develop innovative programmes to support athletes. We are very proud that, together with Airbnb, we have developed the Olympian and Paralympian Experiences programme and now the new Travel Grants. Through these two initiatives, athletes have the opportunity to create their own revenue streams and directly benefit from Airbnb’s partnership with the Olympic Movement.”
The IOC and Airbnb announced a nine-year, five-Games partnership in 2019. All of the IOC’s joint initiatives launched with Airbnb are in line with the new Olympic Agenda 2020+5 recommendations, which call on the IOC to continue to develop programmes and platforms for the direct benefit of athletes. Airbnb and the IOC have, to date, allocated a total of USD 40 million to direct support for athletes.
This support goes over and above the USD 5 billion the IOC is distributing during the current Olympiad for the benefit of athletes by supporting Organising Committees and sports organisations around the world.
“Our work with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee is focused on dedicated support for individual athletes, who are at the centre of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement,” said Airbnb Head of Hosting, Catherine Powell. “With thousands of athletes already using Airbnb for travel needs related to training, qualification and competition, this new programme will provide much-needed additional economic support.”
Among the initiatives to directly benefit athletes as part of the IOC’s partnership with Airbnb is the Olympian and Paralympian Experiences programme, launched in 2020, which has provided direct earning opportunities for athletes and brought them closer to fans than ever before, while also underlining the IOC’s efforts to support athletes and put them at the heart of the Olympic Movement.
As one of the largest long-term athlete support programmes initiated by the IOC and a Worldwide Olympic Partner, the Experiences platform has enabled host athletes to generate income while promoting their sport and sharing their passions with guests around the world. The platform also staged a five-day virtual festival in July 2020 that saw more than 200 athletes hosting Experiences that helped spread the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbnb’s support for athletes also extends beyond these programmes. As announced at the launch of the global Olympic partnership, the IOC will make at least USD 28 million worth of Airbnb accommodation available over the course of the partnership to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for competition- and training-related travel.
Applications for the 2021 Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant are now open to all elite athletes, Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls on www.airbnb.com/athletetravelgrant. Applications will close on 14 May 2021 at 11:59pm PDT. Each year, members of the IOC will select up to 500 applicants based on the personal statement provided in each individual’s application. Applicants’ geographic location and sport will also be considered to ensure diversity across recipients. Preference will also be given to Olympic Solidarity scholarship recipients. Terms & Conditions apply.
This joint initiative adds to the growing number of direct benefits the IOC can provide the Athlete Community through its Athlete Engagement platform Athlete365. For more information, please visit here.