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As an Olympic silver medallist, Lauren Gibbs already has a pretty interesting story to share. But when you discover that the American only took up bobsleigh at the age of 30 and made it to the Olympic podium in PyeongChang a mere four years later, her inspirational tale becomes one you can’t wait to hear.
Now, thanks to Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb’s Online Experiences platform, she is sharing her unique journey – and the valuable lessons she has learned along the way – with people all over the world.
“To me, an Olympian has always been somebody who found their sport at four years old and had to be exceptional at it, and their life's work of sport culminated in the Olympic Games,” explains Gibbs. “For me, it was a bit different. I'd graduated from college, I'd graduated from an MBA programme and at the age of 30 was posed with the question of, ‘Hey, why don’t you try bobsled?’ And from then on it was an adventure that I never imagined would be possible.”
Through her Online Experience, Gibbs reveals how she swapped board meetings and conference calls for the bobsled track and the Olympic podium, while offering her unique Olympian insights on mindset, motivation and overcoming adversity.
“I basically share my experience of pivoting later in life and what that's meant to me,” she explains. “I really enjoy learning about other people and the best part about this is I've been able to speak to people from all over the country and all over the world, in one meeting. And so the best part is meeting people you would never have the opportunity to meet and then I tell my journey, I share my Olympic medal, show my guests some of my clothing from the Olympics and then I do a Q&A where they can ask me anything about life, the Olympics, my Olympic mindset and whatever their imagination can think of.”
The opportunity to interact with an Olympic medallist and learn from their experiences has certainly resonated with Airbnb users and Olympic fans, with Gibbs’ Online Experience attracting a host of five-star reviews and complimentary comments.
“I think what people are really enjoying about my experience is that you can really do anything in life if you take a risk and you take advantage of opportunities,” says Gibbs. “And so that's kind of what I'm trying to instil in people is that you can take hold of your lifestyle and what you do in your life and really flip it upside down if it doesn't fit with who you'd like to be or what you'd like to be doing. And so, the idea of pivoting at any point in your life is, I think, what people are taking away from our conversations.”
It clearly helps that Gibbs is as accomplished a speaker as she is a bobsledder, but the 36-year-old – who was also crowned world champion in February this year – believes her guests simply enjoy hearing anecdotes from her extraordinary career.
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Lauren Gibbs fell in love with the sport of bobsledding at the age of 30 after a friend at her CrossFit gym suggest she try it. Three and a half years later, she won the silver medal at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 competing for Team USA. “There’s a misconception that in order to become an Olympian, you need to start at four years old and have dedicated your whole life to the sport.” Once in a corporate job, now a full-time athlete training for her second Olympics, Lauren says she hopes her story is evidence that anything you want to do—within reason—is possible. In her Online Experience, “What It’s Like to be an Olympic Bobsledder,” she’ll share tips on training, nutrition, and gear, as well as advice on having the mindset and perseverance to pursue your own goals. You’ll get a peek at that silver medal, too. Link in bio. 📸 : @Mollychoma @Samkweskin
“They definitely love the inserts about what it's like to go down a bobsled for the first time because most people will never experience that,” she explains. “But I also think it's important for them to understand that even though I did something extraordinary, I'm a pretty normal person and the idea that normal people can do extraordinary things and take advantage of opportunities and mould their lifestyle, I think is really important and so, it's a mix of laughter, inspiration and just a good feeling of connecting with people.”
With communities around the world staying home to protect their own health and the health of others, Airbnb Online Experiences are providing a new way for users to enjoy unique activities – including those led by Olympians and Paralympians virtually. And for athletes like Gibbs, whose in-person public speaking engagements have been cancelled or put on-hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform is also providing an opportunity to share her passion, connect with fans and earn income during an uncertain time.
“I love sharing my story, and public speaking is a passion of mine and a business of mine. So, once the pandemic hit and in-person Experiences weren’t a possibility, I thought I’d try and do something online,” she explains. “Honestly, I didn't know what would come of it because you always have that uncertainty about whether people are going to find this interesting, or are they going to enjoy it? Do I have something worth sharing? But it's been a fun journey figuring out what people are interested in hearing about, what questions they have and what they enjoy learning. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and it's been a lot of fun.”
OLYMPIAN & PARALYMPIAN EXPERIENCESWith communities around the world staying home to protect their own health and the health of others, online Olympian & Paralympian Experiences developed with Airbnb provide a new way for users to enjoy unique activities – such as workouts and mentoring sessions led by Olympians and Paralympians virtually – and for athlete hosts to share their passion, connect with fans and earn income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WANT TO CONNECT WITH OTHER OLYMPIANS VIRTUALLY?Explore all of the Online Experiences hosted by Olympians & Paralympians here.
Or are you an Olympian or a Paralympian interested in hosting your own experience? Let us help you get started here!