Olympics, nutrition and pickleball took over the stage during Day 3 of the SXSW Sports Track.
Apolo Ohno headlined Monday’s session “Transforming the Games—Leveraging Tech & Innovation to Modernize the Olympic & Paralympic Movement.” The eight-time Olympic medalist was joined by Salesforce president and CMO Sarah Franklin and three-time Paralympian Kendall Gretsch.
“The democratization of using technology to showcase all facets of sport is becoming widely accepted,” Ohno said in an interview. “I think it’s a really good thing… Athletes [now] have all these ways to brand themselves outside the traditional form of media. We didn’t have that before, which is cool.”
Recovery and maximizing athletes’ potential were key topics discussed during the “Athlete Optimization through Science & Innovation: Intersection of Food, Sports, and Technology” session. The panel featured Sleep Number’s Patrick Campion, Los Angeles Rams’ player performance head Reggie Scott and top chef Andrew Zimmern.
“If I’m a professional athlete, the better that I take care of the temple, the more years it has to be available to the public,” Zimmern said in an interview. “That translates into security for my family, money and availability for gametime if I have an injury, because you can come back quicker and be more effective at a higher percentage.”
“The Right Fit: When Brands and Athlete Unite” session highlighted the growing reach of today’s pro athletes and how they can leverage marketing potential to create optimal brand partnerships. The panel featured StatusPro president Andrew Hawk, Round21 founder Jasmine Maletta, OneTeam Partners’ Lindsay Amstutz and NFLPA marketer Jenna Sobray.
The “100 Days to Indy: Racing Greatest Spectacle” discussion explored the leadup to one of the biggest days in the sport and how filmmakers are capturing the prestige of the event. 100 Days to Indy docuseries director Patrick Dimon, Arrow McLauren INDYCAR Team drivers Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi touched on the potential importance of the six-part broadcast series, which makes its debut this spring.
Some of Major League Pickleball’s top talent took to the court behind Austin’s Four Seasons hotel for a mid-day doubles exhibition on Day 3. Pro players Brandon Nsekpong, Lina Padegimaite, Stefan Auvergne and Dekel Bar showed off their talents while MLP founder Steve Kuhn joined Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams and Scott Soshnick on the Sporticast podcast, which concluded with a news break that Dude Perfect will be buying into the league’s Frisco franchise at a $5 million valuation.