For the third time, Procter & Gamble will be sponsoring a Family Home where athletes and their families can escape the cameras and constant media presence that surround them. P&G launched the home as part of the “Thank You, Mom” campaign, which helps to provide support for the Olympic athletes families. The P&G Family Home was launched in London in 2012 and was also a success at the Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi.
While the house focuses on Team USA athletes, P&G brands such as Gillette, Pantene and Tide also sponsor about 100 athletes globally.
“If you think about these athletes, they come from all over the world, and they just have to find out where they can stay, where can they do laundry,” said Alex Kahrer, account supervisor with Marina Maher Communications. “They want to have a little normalcy while uprooted for three weeks in a foreign country, so this is really what we’re here to do.”
The home provides many different services and amenities for the athletes and their families to take advantage of during their stay in Brazil. Here are 10 things that you should know about the Procter & Gamble Family Home:
While one of the main focuses of the family home is to give the athletes a break from the media, occasionally they will address the media about their time at the P&G Home. USA Track & Field Athlete Ashton Eaton, who is sponsored by Gillette, was one athlete who recently spoke about his experience. “They will come and talk about the family home and also about Gillette and what that brand means to him as well,” said Kahrer.
2. Athletes and families can sample Brazilian food and culture
While being in a different country can be stressful for many people, the P&G Home tries to make the patrons comfortable by immersing them in Brazilian food and drink. The room is decorated to look like a beach and comes complete with coconut drinks as well. “Most of the population lives near or experiences the beach,” said Kahrer. “It’s just a nice area to mix and mingle and experience the culture a little bit.”
3. Meet up with family and friends for complimentary lunch and dinner
It can be hard to make time for athletes to spend time with their families in the midst of all the competitions and matches during these three weeks, but the P&G Home tries to make it easier on them. “Anytime they want to come in, grab some food, hangout and meet other families, you know just spend some together,” said Kahrer.
Kahrer says that there’s one reason why families choose the P&G Home over Olympic Village. “The Olympic Village is where only athletes are allowed to be, so their families can’t be together,” said Kahrer. “This is really a space for them to mingle with whoever is there traveling with them.”
4. P&G sponsored campaign events will be held here
Many P&G brand such as Tide, Covergirl and Always have their own individual campaigns that will hold events in the P&G Home. One campaign that has been a big part of the Olympics is the “Play Like a Girl” campaign, which is sponsored by Always. The campaign encourages young girls to play sports, as statistics show that there’s a significant drop of girls playing sports by time they turn 16. “It’s all about encouraging them to play and keeping up their confidence,” said Kahrer. “Why should they stop playing sports?”
5. The goal was to make the location as central as possible
This year’s P&G Home is located at the Royal Tulip Rio São Conrado, which has a beautiful view overseeing the São Conrado beach. The location was decided about a year and a half ago, and while the central location was the biggest reason, the beach definitely didn’t hurt the Royal Tulip’s chances.
6. Moms of athletes can get Olympic-themed hairstyles
With products such as Aussie and Pantene, it’s no surprise that the P&G Home offers a variety of salon services for Olympic moms. Some of the services include getting their nails done, getting manicures and getting Olympic-themed hairstyles. What are those you may ask? “Aussie is really known for their fun, carefree, beachy looks,” said Kahrer. “So they can sort of do ribbons through the braids in colors of the country so you can get festive like that.”
Kahrer said that this service has been the most appreciated by moms so far. “They come in here, especially before they’re kids are competing, because they know they’ll be on camera,” he expgained.
7. Laundry service is completely free
When you’re busy working for a medal, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you’ll have clean clothes to wear at your press conference. Tide offers a 24-hour laundry ser
vice. They can come in, drop it off and pick it up the next day.
8. Gillette’s Precision Room and Man Cave
While P&G has mainly focused on moms, they can’t forget about the dads, the brothers and the uncles. The Precision Room offers hot-towel shaves, haircuts and Head and Shoulders washes while the Man Cave is a little different. “The man cave is a space that’s just a little more tailored to guys,” says Kahrer. The area includes big-screen TVs and areas for guys to relax and be guys.
9. Relax your muscles at the Athlete Recovery Center
Despite its name, the Recovery Center is available for both athletes and their families. The Recovery Center is ran by St. Vincent Sport Performance and has several different items and knowledge to make sure that the athletes and their families have a healthy experience while they’re in Rio. “Our purpose statement was to be able to provide support services of our expertise to the families and the athletes so that particularly the families don’t have an annoyance get in the way of watching their children participate,” said Executive Director Ralph Reiff.
10. Surprising athletes
One of the biggest surprises of the P&G Home is that every once in a while they’ll surprise sponsored athletes after they medal in an event. After David Boudia got a silver medal, the P&G family surprised him with the NBC footage of him winning the event — something that he hadn’t seen. “This was a huge moment for them in their lives,” said Kahrer. “Since they can’t see what everyone at home is seeing, it was really amazing for them to see it.”
Hendrix Magley is a Ball State University student and writer for Ball State at the Games, a group of 50 journalism students traveling from Muncie, Indiana, to Rio for the Olympic Games. Follow them at bsuatthegames.com, @bsuatthegames on Twitter and Instagram, and facebook.com/bsuatthegames on Facebook.