IOC President Bach has stressed the importance of 5G technology to the future of the Olympics ©IOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach outlined what he considers to be the digital future of the Olympic Games during a keynote speech at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Addressing an audience of 2,000 industry experts, Bach said the rise of technology is "not a challenge to overcome" but rather "a huge opportunity to reach even more people with the values of sport and the magic of the Olympic Games".

He in particular emphasised the creation of 5G technology as a great opportunity for the Games.

"This digital future also offers us the opportunity to dramatically change the way that people experience the Olympic Games," he said.

"This is why we are very excited about the advent of 5G technology, because it will open up so many new and better ways to spread the joy, the emotions and the values of sport to even more people."

Bach also highlighted how 5G technology was used at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the first time it had been used at a global event.

The Games, the IOC claim, provided the world's biggest showcase of 5G and the first broad-scale 5G network to date.

This provided "a sneak peak of how 5G could change the Olympic Games", it is claimed.

While at the Congress, Bach also visited the showcases of IOC partners Intel and Samsung, meeting Intel's chief executive Bob Swan and senior vice president of the Network Platforms Group, Sandra Rivera.

Thomas Bach was shown the latest mobile technologies created by IOC partners including Samsung ©IOC
Thomas Bach was shown the latest mobile technologies created by IOC partners including Samsung ©IOC

He experienced Intel's 5G technology and discussed plans for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

The IOC recently extended its partnership with Samsung through to 2028 and, at their showcase, Bach was shown some of the company's latest mobile technologies by the firm's chief marketing officer Younghee Lee and its President DongJin Koh.

The IOC has been considering ways to create a more digital Games for some time now, having held a forum on esports last year in Lausanne in conjunction with the Global Association of International Sports Federations.

Bach's IOC has since said it is "premature" to talk of esports joining the Olympic programme, but "virtual and connected" events, meaning online versions of existing sports already taking place, could well feature at the Paris 2024 Games.

The Games' organisers have announced discussions with International Federations regarding the possibility of staging such events, which they claim will increase engagement opportunities for fans and spectators.

World Sailing are one such Federation considering holding virtual events at the Games.

They have proposed an online version of the Olympic sailing contests, which would allow fans from across the world to compete in real-time against elite-level athletes, while offering them the chance to "share the Olympic experience and be at the heart of the Olympic Games".