Competing in a sport at an elite level, as Olympic athletes do, requires a great deal of perseverance and dedication. Training is as important as competitions, since that’s where they learn to master the moves that will lead to their victory.
The pandemic has thrown the Olympic dreams of many athletes into chaos. Training centers closed, competitions were cancelled and traveling to training and competition sites (especially ski centers) became difficult, all of which shook up how things are done. Athletes had to adapt quickly, find other training locations and change their methods to remain best in their class.

In these situations, new technologies like virtual reality (VR) have come to their rescue! With no access to the Olympic site due to health guidelines, the Canadian bobsleigh team used VR technology to simulate the course, do more runs and memorize each turn up to the finish line. However, it’s skiers that seem to be benefiting the most from of this technology at the moment. Virtual reality provides a space to train under different conditions and on various slopes, while replicating the sensation of speed and eliminating lift time! This way, every mountain is accessible year-round without having to travel thousands of kilometres! It makes for greener training, for sure, but it also makes it easier to balance school and family life.

VR technology also helps with rehabilitation: since workouts are smoother, the risks of injury are extremely low. Athletes can resume their training earlier and keep those reflexes that make all the difference during competitions sharp. It’s also safer to learn a new skill or to go down a new slope for the first time in VR. Since there are lower risks of injury, it’s possible to imagine that athletes could have much longer professional careers.

If VR technology has so many advantages for Olympic athletes, imagine what it could do for anyone working in a dangerous or high-risk occupation! For firefighters, first responders or power line workers, being able to make the right decision in a split second could make the difference between life and death. Why not give them an opportunity to practice their decision-making process dozens, even hundreds of times, in different scenarios without having to put their lives at risk?

Virtual reality opens up a world of possibilities in learning! What skill would you like to develop in VR?

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