Thomas Bach: "Artificial intelligence has the potential to be a game changer in sport". IOC

During a visit to Fiji for the General Assembly of the Oceania National Olympic Committees, the IOC President said that digitalisation, e-sports and artificial intelligence are "the biggest challenges". An exhibition on the future benefits of these tools will be held in April.

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, addressed the ONOC General Assembly in Fiji last Tuesday. He was welcomed by Robin Mitchell, President of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), who is also a member of the IOC Executive Board. 

Representatives from the 17 National Olympic Committees were present at the Assembly, where digitalisation was a key theme of his speech. "It will be the most important challenge and opportunity for the world of sport, because it will change the world".

E-sports and video games, as well as artificial intelligence, were two particular areas he highlighted. Bach pointed out that "we cannot ignore the 3 billion people who are familiar with these games". 

The President informed the General Assembly that he had asked the IOC's Esports Commission to study the creation of Olympic Esports Games. The Commission is still in the study phase, but there are many possibilities for news to be announced soon.

Thomas Bach addressed the 17 National Committees of Oceania. IOC
Thomas Bach addressed the 17 National Committees of Oceania. IOC

President Bach said: "Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform sport in all its aspects, from athlete training, athlete assessment and refereeing to the fight against doping, the spectator experience and solidarity in sport. The potential is huge, but there are also risks that need to be addressed. The Olympic Movement must harness its benefits and understand its risks.

Bach also told the Assembly that the IOC will present a vision on the potential of artificial intelligence for sport next month and encouraged representatives to dedicate a conference to the topic before next year's ONOC General Assembly.

During the meeting, President Bach presented the IOC Award for the Champion of Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Oceania to the Olympic athlete Patrick Johnson. Johnson's work has been instrumental in developing programmes for the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Olympic sport.

IOC First Vice-President John Coates, IOC members Baklai Temengil and Auvita Rapilla, IOC member and member of the IOC Athletes' Commission Sarah Walker and IOC member and President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons joined President Bach and ONOC President Mitchell at the Assembly.