09 Feb Welcome to the Winter CryptOlympic Games
Excitement is growing. Speed and strength are building fast. The bobsleds are ready for breakneck speed down the mountain and the half-pipes are stoked for screaming turns.
No, we’re not talking about yesterday’s bitcoin market ups and downs. We’re talking about the first CryptOlympics Games.
It seems only fitting South Korea would be the site of the first CryptOlympic Games. After all, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are among the busiest in the world.
Why the CryptOlympics Games?
This really marks the first time cryptocurrency will be this visible at a Winter Olympics.
For the first time, some winter sports athletes will be sponsored or supported by cryptocurrency donations.
Many 2018 Winter Olympics visitors will be able to pay for air flights, hotels, meals and souvenirs with bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments cards or services.
And of course, online options for gambling are in full flight with cryptocurrency options for those who can’t resist betting on Winter Olympics sports events.
Welcome to the CryptOlympics Games.
Virtual currencies supporting athletes
Numerous athletes have gone digital, offering their supporters different ways to lend their support using cryptocurrency.
Ted-Jan Bloemen, Canadian speed skater and double world record holder, is the first athlete sponsored by a cryptocurrency – ONG Social as well as Ceek VR.
“Speed skating success is all about progression – building and building to peak at the right time. I’m excited to step into the future with ONG and CEEK. Their progressive approach to social media and VR paired with cryptocurrencies bring a whole new perspective. A perspective that, I believe, has a lot of potential! I feel like I just got two new teammates to help put me over the top, at the most important point in the season.”
Bloemen will stream his success on the ONG social network, built using blockchain. The cryptocurrency sponsorship helps him take advantage of crypto trading opportunities to increase sponsorship funding.
US luge team running on bitcoin
Those wild and crazy lugers are hot on the cryptocurrency donations trail. In December, USA Luge became the first US Olympic team to set up a cryptocurrency account with their endowment to “buy and hodl” bitcoin with the hopes of financing their support for the 2018 Games and future Olympics.
Somehow for this cool, crazy sport, it seems appropriate.
On Medium, 1998 silver medalist in luge doubles and current USA Luge marketing director Gordy Sheer says:
“You know, we hear a lot of jokes about lugers being crazy, and people don’t know why we do it. But luge is something that gets into your blood and transforms your life…and the bitcoiners we’ve met know exactly what it’s like to be all in on something that the world doesn’t appreciate yet. We’ve looked at bitcoin hard, and it is definitely a risk-reward we understand and are eager to take.”
The US Luge team is also quick to remind cryptocurrency investors of the tax benefits of donating cryptocurrency.
New York-Kosovo refugee crowdfunded his chance to compete
Besnik Sokoli is 36-year-old war refugee from Kosovo and a building superintendent in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. In January 2017, he entered a downhill skiing race and despite having not been on skis in 20 years, he surprised himself and everybody else by winning.
He decided to train to compete in downhill skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PeongyangChang.
After his story got picked up in The Wall Street Journal and other New York media, he set up a website and a crowdfunding page accepting Bitcoin and Ether to help pay his expenses. He traveled and competed during 2017 with meager support and maxed out credit cards, all with the support of family and friends.
After training and gaining enough FISA points, the dual US-Kosovo citizen learned he was picked as an alternate to ski for Kosovo’s downhill ski team in South Korea. The Daily Mail reported on Feb 1 that Sokoli is packing to travel to the Games.
Some of his training was done in the boiler room where he used a machine called the Skier’s Edge, a workout machine that conditions the muscles used in skiing.
Sokoli is a Rocky-type, underdog story and cryptocurrency donations helped get him and other athletes to the starting gate in South Korea. The rest is up to the sporting gods and Lady Luck.
You can see more on Sokoli’s inspiring story on NBC.
Author: Jeff Domansky
Visuals: Courtesy Ted-Jan Bloemen, Besnik Sokoli, NBC, Pixabay.