Budapest 2024 Promotes Olympics Bid With Tech-Filled Traveling Exhibition

Imagine a theme park with all your favorite roller coasters named for comic book superheroes. Now imagine a theme park abounding in technology that lets you fashion yourself after your real-life sports heroes.  

Such a theme park exists in Budapest, Hungary as a central feature in the European city’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “The Champion,” as it’s called, employs technologies such as virtual reality to give visitors the opportunity to experience Olympic sports and then keep track of their performances through a bracelet equipped with Near Field Communication. The exhibition will also include 3D projections — some in slow motion — and holographic experiences.

Visitors to the park will be able to try their hand at more than 20 games that reflect real Olympic sports, as well as learn about the training regimens and diets of Olympic athletes. Sports artifacts will also be on display.

Though driven by Budapest’s Olympic bid team, “The Champion” was developed with the support of 49 of Hungary’s elite athletes, including Tibor Benedek, a three-time Olympic gold medalist on Hungary’s water polo team. “It’s is our common responsibility to provide our children the possibility to have a sporty and healthy life,” Benedek said in a press release. “Who knows, maybe a child will find the sport of his or her dreams here, and be an athlete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Budapest.”

Another athlete, gymnastics gold medalist Krisztián Berki, gave his endorsement: “At the Champion Exhibition people can have a deeper look at the world of sports. If after visiting they choose any of the sports to do, they can only make a good decision.” A commercial for the experience shows Hungarian Olympians interacting with the exhibition — running against a virtual sprinter, firing a pistol in a shooting range, and practicing rowing technique on an ergometer.

“The Champion” is based in Budapest, near the Millenáris Park cultural center, until April 7. The exhibition will then go on a global tour to bring fans closer to the Olympic experience and to hype up Budapest’s bid to host the Olympics.