Worldwide Olympic Partners support the fight against COVID-19

01 Oct 2020
IOC News Partners

As companies and organisations around the world react to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the efforts being made by the Worldwide Olympic Partners to support athletes during this time, as well as the needs of the communities in which they operate.


The Coca-Cola Company has committed to continue supporting the Olympic athletes it sponsors following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, providing some financial certainty for them amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In July, it also announced sponsorship agreements with a further eight US athletes, including gymnastics star Simone Biles and swimmer Missy Franklin, taking its sponsorship roster to 14 athletes, all of whom will be supported until December 2021. In Japan, Coca-Cola has launched an athlete donation programme, giving consumers the opportunity to convert points they collect through drinks purchases to be converted into monetary value to help support Japanese athletes continue training for their Olympic dreams. In addition, among other initiatives, the company has produced hand sanitiser for donation to hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, and donated more than three million beverages to support community organisations, food banks and frontline responders throughout North America. These and other contributions, in addition to further programmes that are currently in development, are expected to take Coca-Cola’s total community support beyond USD 100 million. 


Airbnb has shown support to the athlete community by launching Olympian and Paralympian Experiences together with the IOC and the IPC – a new online platform that offers elite athletes a unique opportunity to share their passion, connect with fans and earn income during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help promote the new Online Experiences, Airbnb also partnered with the IOC to host a five-day summer festival featuring more than 100 Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences hosted virtually by some of the world’s best athletes. In addition, the company has launched a global initiative to provide free or subsidised accommodation for those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling them to carry out their critical work while safely distancing from their own families. The company’s goal is to help house 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders around the world, with Airbnb waiving all fees for stays arranged through this initiative. In addition, the company has introduced a USD 17 million Superhost Relief Fund to help support those Airbnb hosts who have been most affected by the pandemic through USD 5,000 grants.


Alibaba’s support has spanned the company’s vast ecosystem, with its support for athletes including the launch of live workout sessions on its Alibaba Sports and Youku platforms, with well-known Chinese athletes teaching audiences how to stay active and healthy during the pandemic. A national livestream event to support the #StayStrong campaign on 23 June also presented a relay of Chinese athletes from different sports and generations to further promote the Olympic spirit one year prior to Tokyo 2021. The company’s efforts have also included the launch of a series of artificial intelligence technologies and cloud-based solutions, which aim to support companies and organisations worldwide in the fight against COVID-19. Among the new solutions is the International Medical Expert Communication Platform hosted on Alibaba Cloud, which allows medical professionals to exchange knowledge through online messaging, video conferencing and livestreaming, as well as an epidemic-prediction tool, AI-enabled genome-sequencing technology and CT image analytics that offer rapid, accurate and comprehensive analyses of subjects. Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms have also introduced a number of measures to help small and medium enterprises navigate the immediate crisis, while the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation have made large-scale donations of medical supplies across the world and in support of research for developing vaccines for the new coronavirus.


In July, Atos signalled its continued support of athletes and the entire Olympic Movement by extending its long-standing Worldwide Olympic Partnership through to 2024. The new agreement provides stability during these uncertain times and enables the IOC to continue its widespread support of athletes and the wider sporting movement, with 90 per cent of its revenues being reinvested straight back into sport and athlete development.

Through several direct and partner-led initiatives across the globe, Atos is also engaged in the response to COVID-19 on multiple fronts, providing solutions and computing power to help contain the spread of the virus, support the scientific community, accelerate vaccine research and ensure business continuity for critical services. Atos’ supercomputers in Brazil, the Czech Republic, France and Great Britain are being used to speed up research around COVID-19; while in Austria, Atos has developed and implemented an Epidemic Management System to support the control of the spread of the coronavirus; and in Spain, it has also adapted the use of its 3D printing machines to produce protective medical equipment. Finally, Atos has shared its data science skills with the research community, notably taking part in the ‘Covid-19 Dataset Challenge’ – an international competition asking AI researchers to apply machine learning tools and techniques to help provide answers to key questions about the disease.


Team Bridgestone athletes including Jordan Burroughs, Allyson Felix, Thomas Rohler, P.V. Sindhu, Ariarne Titmus and Ai Ueda have starred in a series of videos for the Olympic Channel, entitled Olympic State of Mind, sharing their daily struggles and what motivates them to achieve their best. The series aims to highlight the mental tools that elite athletes use – including mindfulness, motivation and visualisation – and how these can be applied in our own lives, especially during this time of uncertainty.


Dow is partnering with non-profit organisations, governments and businesses around the world to aid frontline workers and help protect vulnerable populations. This includes ramping up raw material production for safety and hygiene products, donating personal protective equipment, manufacturing hand sanitiser, developing an open-source face shield design, and contributing USD 3 million for relief efforts.


GE’s various divisions have launched a range of initiatives in response to the COVID-19 crisis. GE Healthcare, for instance, has released cloud-based patient monitoring software for health systems, which is designed to provide a central hub from which hospital staff can monitor patients in intensive care units — including those on medical ventilation. It has also increased its manufacturing capacity and output of equipment – including CTs, ultrasound devices, mobile X-ray systems, patient monitors and ventilators that are important in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients.


To further its support for athletes who are working to manage the impact of COVID-19, Intel has partnered with the IOC to offer the athlete community access to tools that will help them navigate the challenges created by the worldwide pandemic.

This includes life-coaching, mentoring, and access to learning and development services. In addition, Intel has pledged USD 10 million in donations for global COVID-19 relief efforts and USD 50 million in a pandemic response technology initiative to combat the coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students and teachers. Approximately USD 40 million will fund the Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness and Online Learning initiatives, which will provide funding to accelerate customer and partner advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and edge-to-cloud service delivery. In addition, Intel is sourcing and donating more than one million items of personal protective equipment – including masks, gloves and other gear – to healthcare workers, and has also given COVID-19 scientists and researchers free access to the company’s vast worldwide intellectual property portfolio in the hope that it will help them save lives.


In Japan, Panasonic has announced an initiative to help reduce shortages of critical supplies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes contributing its stocks of medical-grade gloves, goggles and masks, as well as its Ziaino high-performance air purification and sterilisation equipment for medical institutions. The company is also providing its HOSPI autonomous delivery robot, which has been equipped with nozzles that spray disinfectants to offer a self-manoeuvring sterilisation solution.


P&G’s cosmetic brand SK-II demonstrated its support of the athlete community during these unprecedented times by extending all of the brand’s athlete sponsorship agreements through to 2021. More recently, P&G has signalled its continued support of athletes and the entire Olympic Movement by extending its long-standing Worldwide Olympic Partnership through to 2028 but also launched, with the IOC and the IPC, the Athletes for Good Fund, which will issue grants directly to the causes supported by Olympic and Paralympic Games athletes and hopefuls from causes to help the food insecure, to fundraising for COVID-19 relief or working with organisations on anti-racist education. It also provided crucial sanitary support to athletes on their way back to training by donating hand sanitiser to sports facilities across the world. Within the wider population, P&G is donating millions of products from more than 30 brands in over 30 countries, helping to ensure that families have basic access to everyday essentials. To ensure these products get to the people who need them, the company is partnering with more than 200 NGOs, agencies and leading relief organisations around the world, helping to support nursing homes, shelters, community groups and food banks. P&G is also producing critically needed supplies, including millions of non-medical face masks and more than 45,000 litres of hand sanitiser per week globally. In addition, the company is using its various brand platforms to share important safety, cleaning and hygiene messages with consumers. This included the launch of its #DistanceDance campaign on TikTok, which garnered more than eight billion views and 1.7 million imitation dances in the first week only.


Since January, Samsung has donated USD 39 million worth of funds and goods to governments and communities that have been most affected by COVID-19 to help with their relief efforts, including the purchase of medical supplies and hygiene kits. The company is also donating smartphones to patients in quarantine to help them keep in touch with their families and friends, as well as air purifiers and other appliances to hospitals and quarantine centres, and tablets to educational institutions so that children can continue to learn outside the classroom. In the Republic of Korea, Samsung has provided local authorities with a facility to operate as a care centre for patients and its engineering teams are working with local companies that produce face masks and virus test kits to help them boost production.

In addition, Samsung aims to share the Olympic spirit and inspire people to keep moving forward through Team Galaxy. Despite the challenging times, Samsung’s Team Galaxy athletes are continuing to find creative ways to train and stay motivated for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The video '#HowTeamGalaxyTrains' demonstrates the unrelenting athletic spirit as well as their drive to excel in the next normal.


To help inspire people during the pandemic, Team Toyota athletes have been sharing their own personal stories of coping with uncertainty and building resilience in the new Olympic Channel original series What Moves Me. Presented in partnership with Toyota, the series features inspirational lessons from world-class Team Toyota athletes who share their stories of overcoming challenges in their career, as well as the practical techniques they use every day to feel empowered.

In addition, Toyota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has also included providing various vehicles to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and hospitals and medical facilities throughout Japan to transport infected patients. Toyota companies are also engaged in full-scale production of medical face shields in Japan, expanding its production capacity from 500-600 units per week to approximately 2,000 units per day.

In Spain, meanwhile, Team Toyota ambassadors Carolina Marín, Eva Moral, Martín de la Puente and Niko Shera have been helping to spread a strong message of encouragement for the local population heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis.


As part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis, Visa has launched a public service campaign featuring Olympians that encourages people to stay home and practise good hygiene. The “Do Your Part like an Olympian” campaign stars athletes such as Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky, BMX star Kenneth Tencio and sprinter Akani Simbine exhibiting their athletic skills in the comfort of their own homes before urging people to wash their hands, use hand sanitiser and stay home to help combat the pandemic. Visa also told its global roster of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls their sponsorships will be extended into 2021 after the Tokyo Games were postponed. In addition, the Visa Foundation has launched two programmes totalling USD 210 million in support. This includes USD 10 million for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public health and food relief.

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