Worldwide Olympic Partner Allianz supports athletes with innovative mental health programmes

21 Jul 2021
IOC News Partners Allianz

Allianz, the Worldwide Insurance Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, has announced the launch of two global programmes designed to provide more confidence and mental health support to Olympic and Paralympic athletes as they prepare for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

Allianz Allianz

The programmes demonstrate Allianz’s commitment to supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes and include providing access to emotional support dogs and offering an interactive mentoring and skill development programme to help athletes prepare for life after competition.

“We know that training and competing at the highest levels can take a toll on the mental health of athletes, especially after experiencing so much uncertainty over the past year,” said Hector Muelas, Global Chief Brand Officer of Allianz SE. “We’re proud to commemorate Olympic Day by not only creating tailored programmes that address the unique challenges facing Olympians, Paralympians and the wider athlete community, but also using this moment as an important inflection point to raise more awareness for mental health support.”

Allianz Support Dog Squad

In association with non-profit organisations Love on 4 Paws and Little Angels, Allianz is providing a squad of more than 50 trained emotional support dogs to international skateboarders training in Los Angeles as they prepare for their Olympic debut in Tokyo, including Leticia Bufoni (Brazil) and Dashawn Jordan (USA).

Over the course of multiple sessions and weeks, Bufoni, Jordan and other skateboarders will participate in interactive sessions with the Allianz Support Dog Squad, helping to enhance their mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, easing loneliness and increasing optimism, and elevating their overall self-esteem before they compete.

Four-time Olympian Lindsey Vonn, a passionate dog owner and mental health advocate, has also teamed up with Allianz as a global ambassador to shine a spotlight on mental health and share her own experiences and advice, as well as Allianz resources, with athletes that will help build their confidence. 

“I know first-hand the challenges that athletes face when it comes to preparing and training for one of the biggest moments of your life,” said Vonn, a gold medallist at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. “I’ve also seen how uplifting and supportive it can be to have a team behind you – whether that’s an emotional support animal, family or friends or trained professionals – to help build up your confidence and create a positive state of mind for those moments when you win or even come up short. I’m honoured to partner with Allianz to help raise awareness for mental health and to share my experiences with other athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other international competitions.”

Fans can visit to watch Bufoni and Jordan’s experiences with the Allianz Support Dog Squad and access information and resources to support their own mental health. Australian track and field Paralympian Vanessa Low is also sharing her unique story across social media about training her dog as an emotional support companion to help combat loneliness as she trained to become a two-time Paralympic medallist. 

Allianz Buddy Programme

In addition to the Support Dog Squad, Allianz also kicked off an interactive mentoring and skill development programme for more than 40 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to help prepare them for life after competition. The Allianz Buddy Programme will see athletes team up with Allianz employees across 15 countries for six months as they participate in ongoing training and information exchange sessions covering topics such as mental health, prioritisation and time management, physical health, mindset, teamwork and motivation. Participating athletes include active and retired Olympians and Paralympians as well as Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

Allianz officially began its eight-year worldwide partnership as the Worldwide Insurance Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements on 1 January 2021, building on a collaboration with the Paralympic Movement since 2006.

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