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Airbnb’s New Virtual Experiences Allow You to Spend One-on-One Time with Olympians
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Airbnb’s New Virtual Experiences Allow You to Spend One-on-One Time with Olympians

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The new virtual experiences platform offers online sessions on a variety of interests, including cooking and meditation

Airbnb is helping people go for gold while social distancing.

On Wednesday, the travel lodging company announced the launch of its online version of Airbnb Experiences, bringing virtual sessions to users looking to stay engaged during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. From cooking lessons to guided meditation, the new service offers an array of activities — including one-on-one access to Olympic athletes.

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Bobsledding medalist Lauren Gibbs, 36, will give fans an unprecedented inside look at the daily life of an Olympian, and Team USA swimmer Breeja Larson will help coach participants into adopting the “Olympian mindset” in her goal-setting courses.

“My intention is to help you create strong goals for yourself and help you set yourself up with a solid mental game plan for achieving them,” Larson, 27, writes in her session’s official description. “… I can tell you inspirational stories from my own career and the careers of my teammates, and I would love to hear your own. We will work together so you end feeling inspired to achieve your goals.”

Lijia Xu, 32, an Olympic sailing champ from China, will open up to questions on topics ranging from fitness to diet to self-discipline. Meanwhile, Belgium bobsledder Elfje Willemsen, 35, will host guided workouts for both the novice and well-trained athlete.

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“We will do a personal training session, depending on your goals and fitness. The training will be made especially for you,” she says in her official description. “If you want to go hard, we’ll go hard! If you have no experience with training, we will take it easy and introduce you to exercises tailored to your level.”

Alistair Brownlee, a 31-year-old U.K. triathlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist, will take fellow cycling enthusiasts on virtual bike outings, globe-trotting together on stationary bikes.

Participants will make “virtual stops” in Yorkshire, London, Leeds, Rio and Kona, as the athlete shares tips and personal experiences with riders.

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“At the end of this experience, I hope that my story and our ride leave you with a new perspective and fuel for your goals in sport and beyond,” Brownlee writes in the explanation for his session.

Through all its available experiences, Airbnb hopes to make time in self-isolation more fulfilling.

“Human connection is at the core of what we do,” said Catherine Powell, head of Airbnb Experiences, in a press release. “With so many people needing to stay indoors to protect their health, we want to provide an opportunity for our hosts to connect with our global community of guests in the only way possible right now, online.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.



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