In 2021, 500 Olympians and Paralympians received an Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant – a USD 2,000 Airbnb travel grant that could be used by athletes to support their journeys to the Olympic and Paralympic Games – and this year the grant will be offered to a further 500 Olympic or Paralympic hopefuls.
The initiative launched in 2021 to provide athletes with added flexibility and funding, supporting them with travel costs in a year severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. USD 8 million of funding has been allocated to run the programme for nine years in total, with up to 500 athletes selected each year.
Home away from home
The Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant can be used towards Airbnb properties all over the world, allowing athletes to find accommodation to suit their needs when travelling for training or competitions. With the help of the Airbnb travel grant, athletes are able to pick the perfect place to stay and feel ready to perform to their best no matter where they are travelling.
“It makes you feel like you’re home away from home and, for athletes who travel a lot, that feeling of comfort really makes a difference,” says British sailor Saskia Sills, who used her grant to make her stay before the world championships that little bit more comfortable – with positive results both on and off the water.
It was a similar story for visually impaired para triathlete Nicolas Dewalque, with the flexibility provided by his Athlete Travel Grant proving to be a game-changer for finding accommodation that suited his needs. “Having the grant meant I could just focus on the racing and it removed a huge part of the travel organisation stress,” he explains.
Applications for the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant are open to all elite athletes, Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls until 20 May 2022, more information can be found via the Athlete365 platform. The Airbnb travel grant will be applied directly to athletes’ Airbnb accounts and can be used for stays related to training and competitions – whether for one trip or for multiple travels across a 12-month period.
Airbnb’s support to athletes
The Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant is just one of the initiatives resulting from the IOC and IPC’s partnership with Airbnb. A similar travel grant, the Airbnb500, was offered to all athletes who competed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, providing them with a USD 500 Airbnb Travel Grant as a celebration of their accomplishments. More than 8,500 athletes received an Airbnb500 grant following Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, which they could use on unwinding after the Games or going after their next goal.
Emma Terho, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, said: “Through our work as the IOC Athletes’ Commission and our role in implementing Olympic Agenda 2020+5, we are proud to announce the launch of the next edition of the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant; the second grant programme offered this year by the IOC in partnership with Airbnb. Both the Airbnb500 and the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant continue to assist athletes by supporting them on their journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Through these two initiatives, athletes can directly access funding and benefit from Airbnb’s partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic Movement.”
Airbnb became a Worldwide Olympic Partner in 2019, providing unique accommodation and experience services to the Olympic Movement, the athlete community and fans worldwide through to 2028. The partnership is focused on supporting athletes through opportunities for economic empowerment while creating memorable experiences for fans, as well as providing accommodation support for use while training and travelling.
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