Though the Olympics is supposed to be for amateurs, the athletes need to make a living. Some are backed by their governments, some by sports goods manufacturers, and one, Ted-Jan Bloemen, by ICOs.
What’s more, it seems to be paying off. Yesterday, he became the first cryptocurrency-paid athlete to win an Olympic medal, securing silver in the 5000 metres men’s speed skating final.
Sponsorship Paid in Crypto
The Canadian double world record holder has partnered with two ICOs: ONG Social and CEEK VR in yet another high profile sponsorship agreement indicative of blockchain technology’s growing presence.
ONG Social is a social media dashboard incentivizing user participation through token rewards while CEEK VR is a virtual reality platform which allows users to experience concerts and events through their headsets.
I’m very excited to be the first ever #Crypto Sponsored Athlete. Thanks @CEEK #VirtualReality and @Ong_Social for being at the forefront of technology and this great achievement. Looking forward to a great relationship and the exciting times ahead. pic.twitter.com/mCHbNzkKW8
— Ted-Jan Bloemen (@TedJan) 31 January 2018
According to Bloemen, “Their progressive approach to social media and VR paired with crypto currencies bring a whole new perspective. A perspective that, I believe, has a lot of potential!”
As part of the deal, Bloemen will be paid in cryptocurrency. In return, his contract with ONG requires him to share his Olympic journey on its social network.
His contract with CEEK VR, however, will be a little bit more involved, requiring the athlete to collaborate with the project team on the production of a new virtual reality skating environment.
CEEK VR appears to be hoping that the sponsorship demonstrates the applicability of VR technology beyond the realm of entertainment – as a training tool for athletes. CEO Mary Spio stated: “[the platform] will ultimately be used for training and maximizing player performance and potential.“
Bloemen has capped his downside risk by receiving some of the sponsorship payment in fiat. “For me, the real risk of not getting anything is not there, because I got a little (cash) out of it already.”
On yesterday’s silver medal Bloemen said, “I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t have more to give but [I am] really proud to be on the podium.” At 31 years of age, it is the athlete’s first Olympics. He races again next week in the men’s 10,000 metres.