Panasonic Sports Change Makers set to present innovative ideas that “go beyond barriers”

With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 just over and the Paralympic Games soon to start, Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic will be hosting the final presentation of its Sports Change Makers project through a virtual event, on 23 August. Four finalists representing Tokyo, Beijing, Paris and Los Angeles will present their innovative ideas, as they aim to highlight how sport and technology can combine to break down societal barriers.

Sports Change Makers © IOC

In collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic launched the Sports Change Makers project in the build-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, under the theme “Going Beyond Barriers”.

Open to students from Japan and the future Olympic and Paralympic host countries of China, France and the United States of America, the project asked entrants to suggest how audiovisual technology could be used to transcend the various barriers that still exist in today’s world – whether between people with and without disabilities, between the real and the virtual, or between genders.

Going beyond barriers

After all the entries were assessed, one team from each region was selected to present its ideas to athletes and representatives from the IOC, the IPC and the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Organising Committees.

“Through this project, we would like to contribute not only to Tokyo 2020, but to the Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and improve the value of sport as a whole. The project is aimed at realising a better society through sport,” said Yasuhiro Fukuda, the Panasonic SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project leader.

Among the ideas set to be presented is a headset that visualises the information the person wants to hear, so that those with hearing impairments can better enjoy watching sport in stadiums; and playground equipment that allows children to experience the movements of athletes, so that they can not only watch sports but also experience and feel them.

Advisors on the panel will include US karate Olympian Sakura Kokumai, extreme wheelchair athlete Aaron Fotheringham, IOC Young Leaders Jemima Montag and Christel Saneh, and Timo Lumme, IOC Television & Marketing Services Managing Director.

Panasonic © Panasonic

“I look forward to hearing more about the innovative ideas developed by these four students and presented to us as part of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project,” said Lumme. “This initiative by Panasonic uses technology to further engage young people in the future of sport, and uses its power to break down barriers. The goal of this project is very much in line with the IOC’s core mission to use sport to make a better and more peaceful world. Working with Panasonic on such initiatives is a great example of how our shared values enable us to go beyond the Games and collaborate in innovative ways to contribute to society.”

Sports Change Makers © Panasonic

The final presentations, which will feature demonstrations of the students' ideas in action, will be broadcast live on 23 August from Panasonic's official webpage. The event will also use a virtual event model called “Mirror Field”, which Panasonic has jointly developed with its partners to provide a more realistic online experience, to overcome some of the barriers between the real and the virtual.

Panasonic has been a Worldwide Olympic Partner since 1987, when it joined The Olympic Partner Programme as a charter member, and for over 30 years has been supporting the Olympic Games with its cutting-edge AV equipment solutions.

In addition, Panasonic has supported the IOC Young Leaders Programme since 2017, and continues to do so by providing both additional funding to be used as grants and audiovisual equipment, and also by producing impactful storytelling that promotes the programme and the Young Leaders themselves.

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