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IOC President Thomas Bach dived into the future of technology, society and sport on a three-day tour through Silicon Valley this week. Accompanied by the Chairman of the Olympic Channel Board Madrid, Juan Antonio Samaranch; the President of the Organising Committee of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Gerardo Werthein; the Chairman of the Olympic Channel Commission, Larry Probst; and the Chairman of the Communication Commission, Camiel Eurlings, he visited the IOC Top Partners VISA and Samsung, as well as other major companies.
At VISA, the delegation met VISA President Ryan McInerney, at Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and at Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey. The group also spent a day at the Mountain View Campus of Google, where they discussed the opportunities and challenges of the digital future with a number of executives of the company, including Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, of which Google is a subsidiary.
Visiting IOC Top Partner VISA Thomas Bach finding out about new payment methods, including those involving cars.
“We had very encouraging and inspiring discussions. The visits showed the great opportunities technology provides to reach, in particular, a young audience. But there are also some risks with regard to competition for the limited time of today’s young people. Our job is to get the couch potatoes off the couch and make sure that they get active. The tour here was a great chance to explore how to make a better connection with young people and also to inspire them to play sport”, the IOC President said after concluding the visit. Getting the couch potatoes of the couch is one of the main objects of the IOC and the Olympic Movement.
The topics of discussion were broad and ranged from the Olympic Games to the Olympic Channel, a healthy life style, and virtual reality to education. With regard to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, President Bach said: “Everyone we met talked about the high expectations for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, generating massive global traffic. We are expecting some great social media interaction and are exploring the chances to support this in the best possible way.”
The IOC President also met with Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.
When visiting VISA, the delegation found out about new payment methods, including those involving cars. At Samsung, they got a first glimpse into 360-degree cameras and Virtual Reality by simply using a regular smart phone. At Facebook, the IOC group had the chance to try out Oculus Rift. How Twitter can help drive TV ratings was one of the topics being discussed at a meeting in its headquarters. The IOC President suggested inviting a member of social network Vine into the Artists in Residence programme of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. At the Mountain View Campus of Google, the IOC delegation was not impressed only by the technical developments being presented, but also by the bikes and sporting activities available to the employees of the company.
At the Mountain View Campus of Google the IOC delegation was not just impressed by the technical developments being presented, but also by the bikes and other sporting activities available for the employees of the company.
In all the discussions, the Olympic Channel also played a major role. There will be follow-up meetings with all the companies to further explore cooperation.
“With just months before the launch of the Olympic Channel and before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, meeting some of the best brains in Silicon Valley has given us a chance to share ideas. This is the perfect place to understand how to reach a young audience and how to inspire them to practise sport and to follow the Olympic Movement”, said Yiannis Exarchos, Executive Director of the Olympic Channel.
Those who will benefit first from the visit will be the athletes at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, who will have the chance to experience Virtual Reality in the Olympic Village.