USA Today

Samsung is offering fans of The Olympics an up-close look at how members of Team USA are training for next year’s Games.

The company is teaming up with the United States Olympic Committee for the Road to Rio tour starting July 4 in Philadelphia, featuring a series of experiences leveraging the Gear VR virtual reality headset. Samsung is an associate sponsor of Team USA.

The 2015 USOC Road to Rio Tour Virtual Reality Experience will also be available on Samsung Milk VR — a hub for videos created for virtual reality. The experience includes four videos captured using camera rigs capable of capturing 360-degree footage that offer a closer look at how athletes are preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Among the athletes featured: beach volleyball team members Lauren Fendrick & Brook Sweat; pole vaulter Mary Saxer; gymnast John Orozco and gold-medal winning diverDavid Boudia.

“Being in a smaller sport like diving, it’s not seen very often,” said Boudia during an interview. “The average joe on the street doesn’t know what I do. Samsung was able to capture that perfectly.”

Boudia says Samsung used a 360-degree camera rig to capture him diving from a 10-meter platform, which he says is equivalent to jumping from a three-story building. “They would put (the rig) over me, they dropped it along side of me, they got us under water. They got every single possible (angle).”

The videos show Boudia as he leaps off the platform and plunges into the water. Users will be able to see this from above and well as from under water. In another video featuring Orozco, the video shows the gymnast as he practices on the parallel bars and rings.

“The whole idea was making sure this action could unfold all around you,” said Matt Apfel, vice president of strategy and creative content at Samsung Media Solutions Center America. “You would have to turn your head and turn your body to really experience what these different sports are.”

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