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Airbnb And IOC Support Olympians And Paralympians With Travel Grants

Airbnb and IOC support Olympians and Paralympians with travel grants

24 Jan 2022 - Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), is offering a celebratory travel grant to all participating athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Eligible athletes can apply for their Airbnb500 travel grant from 23 January, with applications accessed via Athlete365.

The Airbnb500 travel grant programme – which was first introduced for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 – will see every Olympian and Paralympian competing in Beijing given a USD 500 Airbnb travel grant to honour their incredible efforts and accomplishments at the Games.

The grant can be used on the Airbnb platform to book accommodation and experiences around the world, with athletes able to treat themselves to a relaxing break, explore a new destination or support their accommodation needs while training and competing around the world.

In 2021, more than 7,000 athletes received the Airbnb500 grant following Tokyo 2020, booking stays in Sweden, Malta, Italy and beyond. Among them was Canadian gymnast Samantha Smith, who took the opportunity to enjoy a break with family and friends after competing in the trampoline in Tokyo, following a challenging build-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last five hard years of training for Tokyo were intense, with travel restricted and no time off,” explains the 2019 Pan-American champion. “I was able to use my grant to take time off in Malta to unwind following a competition, and booked a ski get-together with family and friends. It’s so meaningful to get to spend this time with my biggest supporters after having to be apart for so long.”

While many athletes used the Airbnb travel grant to relax and recover, others used it for training – including Paralympian Vico Merklein, who ensured he was able to stay safe and socially distanced in private accommodation.

“I used the Airbnb500 travel grant in Lanzarote for the first training camp after the Paralympic Games in Tokyo,” explains the handcyclist. “With the help of Airbnb, it's possible to stay in this nice little apartment. In times of the pandemic, I feel better to be by myself and not in a big hotel.”

The Airbnb500 is just one of the initiatives promoted by Airbnb together with the IOC and IPC to support athletes. In an effort to offer extra financial support to athletes who might need it the most, Airbnb launched the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant in April 2021 – a nine-year programme that offers up to 500 athletes a year a USD 2,000 Airbnb travel grant to use for training, qualification and other travel accommodation.

Airbnb became a Worldwide Olympic Partner in 2019, providing unique accommodation and experience services to the Olympic Movement, the athlete community and fans worldwide through to 2028.

Airbnb’s partnership with the IOC is focused on supporting athletes through opportunities for economic empowerment while creating memorable experiences for fans worldwide, as well as providing accommodation support for use while training and travelling.

Athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 can click here to apply for their Airbnb500 travel grant.

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