GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Monday that the first Olympic edition of esports is to come out as early as next year.
During the 141st IOC session in October last year, the IOC announced plans to create the Olympic Esports Games.
Bach stated the plan is not 100% set yet, but the study is making a great process.
"I guess we could count on the first edition, offer such an Olympic Esports Games for the year 2025, or the latest 2026," Bach said.
IOC's first engagement with the esports community was the organization of the Esports Forum in 2018 in Lausanne. In 2021, the IOC developed the Olympic Virtual Series, and then launched the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore last year.
Medalists attend the awarding ceremony for the Peace Elite Asian Games Version of Esports at the 19th Asian Games, Oct. 1, 2023. (Xinhua/Yan Linyun)
Bach said there were, on the one hand, virtual sports that mean esports with physical activity while there were, on the other hand, some of the most popular e-games compliant with the Olympic values.
"With this, I think we can put together the very interesting but also values-based program," he added.
Earlier that day, Bach noted that artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role in the future of sports and the Olympic Games.
"AI will play a major role and a very important role not only for sports and the Olympic Games, but for all our lives," Bach told Xinhua.
According to Bach, with the assistance of AI, sports can be democratized by providing the best training methods, medical care and mental health treatments at the disposal of all athletes around the world.
"With AI, we can then make this available for everybody," said Bach, who forecasted that AI would increase solidarity with athletes and better disseminate the Olympic values and the Olympic Games.
With the help of AI, the IOC will most likely improve the judging and referee system, the IOC chief added.