Olympian Mechelle Lewis Freeman giving back through her Airbnb Online Experience

Former sprinter Mechelle Lewis Freeman explains how Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb’s Online Experiences platform is giving her the opportunity to raise funds for her non-profit organisation, which benefits young female athletes.

Mechelle Lewis

Mechelle Lewis Freeman has many strings to her bow. As well as being an Olympian and a World Championship gold medallist, the former sprinter also has a Master’s degree in marketing and communications, which, following her retirement from the track, led her to roles at several large marketing agencies, as well as a position with Coca-Cola's Sports Marketing & Entertainment division, helping to manage the Worldwide Olympic Partner’s sponsorship activations for the Olympic Games London 2012.

But the lure of the track proved too strong, and Lewis Freeman soon found herself back in the sport she loves through a coaching role with USA Track & Field and as the founder of TrackGirlz – a non-profit organisation that provides camps, empowering educational workshops and grants to increase access to the sport for young female athletes.

“Since retiring from the sport, I really thought that I would go back into marketing and advertising, but I actually took a step away from agency life and combined my marketing skills with my interest in sport, and that's where TrackGirlz was born,” explains Lewis Freeman. “So, I'm very active in the sport still – one, as a coach and two, really getting girls access to sport so they can have the same opportunity I did through track and field.”

To help raise funds for the work of TrackGirlz, Lewis Freeman recently began working with the IOC and Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb to host an Online Experience, offering fans all over the world the chance to join her for a Mind and Body Masterclass.

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“Throughout the years, the IOC has provided opportunities to develop my career both on and off the track, and the Airbnb Experience is now another way to continue to tell my story,” she explains. “Initially, I was scheduled to do an in-person Airbnb Experience but, with the global pandemic, we had to do a little adjustment and make it virtual. But now I really am excited that I'm able to connect with people from all over the world; I can talk to somebody from Asia; I've had somebody from Colombia join my Experience, and of course from the States, too. But wherever you are, no matter the time zone, we're able to come together collectively, share interests, share stories, inspire one another and just really connect.”

Lewis Freeman’s Online Experience includes a virtual high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, as well as a motivational session focused on achieving your own personal ambitions.

“It’s all about conquering mind and body goals,” she explains. “So first I approach that by offering a track and field-inspired workout, and then we finish the class with a mindset discussion, where I take people through my Olympic journey and I share a few inspirational tips and [the] exact methods I used, so that I can help them to understand how to attach their goals in that same way. I use my Olympic journey to help others understand the mindset they need to approach their goals.”

For Lewis Freeman, the chance to share her skills and knowledge with people around the world, while also raising funds for TrackGirlz, meant that setting up her Online Experience was an easy decision to make.

“I really got involved because I felt like it was an opportunity to share my story and to share what I'm doing with TrackGirlz on a global scale,” she explains. “I'm super excited because 100 per cent of the proceeds go to TrackGirlz. This is an organisation where we provide access to sisterhood – empowerment in track and field to girls all around the world.  We're able to do that through our workshops, our curriculum and through our grants.”

And while hosting an Online Experience is enabling Lewis Freeman to help fund the work of TrackGirlz, those who join her for the Mind and Body Masterclass are also gaining the benefits of her Olympic career, and meeting new people at a time when communities around the world are staying at home to protect their own health and the health of others.

Mechelle Lewis Getty Images

“I think what they enjoy the most is you're able to connect with people from all over the world, and so you come together and that connection takes over; and even though you may not know anyone from the beginning of the call, by the time the experience is over it's like you've gained a whole new group of friends,” says Lewis Freeman. “And what's really good about this Experience is that I'm able to be myself.  I'm offering this virtual experience from the comfort of my own home, I tell them real stories, real results. It's all about being your authentic self, and I think that's really resonated with the users.”


With communities around the world staying at 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.

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!
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