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NASM and AFAA’s Optima Event Wins Gold Stevie Award® for Best Educational Conference

August 25, 2021

Ascend Learning is pleased to announce that Optima, an annual conference presented by two of its brands — the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) — received a Gold Stevie® Award for Best Educational Event at the 18th Annual International Business Awards®.

The Stevie® award recognizes best-in-class virtual events that took place in 2020. Winners were selected from more than 3,700 nominations across 63 nations and territories.

“Optima is the premier event for our community to learn, network and share the latest science and trends,” said Laurie McCartney, President of Ascend’s Fitness & Wellness segment, which includes NASM and AFAA. “When the pandemic forced the world into a lockdown, we had to quickly pivot to build and deploy an exceptional virtual experience. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our teams, we reached more members of our community than ever before.”

The Optima 2020 conference included 100 educational sessions for Continuing Education Units, guided workouts, and valuable opportunities to network with leaders and peers in a state-of-the-art virtual environment.

Some of the highlights that helped make the event a success include:

  • 30,000 simultaneous attendees at any time during the 4-day event
  • Zero down-time with full redundancy to address spikes in traffic
  • More than 120,000 registrations and 120 hours of streaming content
  • Gamification with an engagement leaderboard and prizes 3x a day
  • More than 65 expert speakers and 18 sponsor booths

Building on the success of the 2020 event, NASM and AFAA today announced that their seventh annual Optima Conference will include a registration option for free access to learning sessions, exclusive insights, and related knowledge focused on the latest science and trends in fitness and wellness. The conference will be accessible online from Oct. 21-23, 2021, with complimentary registration open now at https://nasm.org/virtual-optima-2021.