How artificial intelligence will protect athletes at Paris 2024 from abuse on social networks
Yeray Vergara
May 8, 2024

A new monitoring service powered by Artificial Intelligence will protect athletes and personnel at the Olympic Games from abuse on social media. Additionally, it will also be used in the Paralympics.

Paris will be the first time AI is used to provide safe online spaces at a large-scale event like the Olympic Games. The system will monitor thousands of accounts in real-time on major social media platforms in over 35 languages. The key is to identify any threats so that platforms can effectively address the messages, often even before the athlete has seen them.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), commented, “Athletes are at the center of everything we do… I am delighted that the Athletes’ Commission and the Medical and Scientific Commission are responding with the use of AI to protect athletes.”

This project is a joint effort between the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission. In addition to helping athletes and prioritizing their safety, this system will help the IOC understand the challenges athletes face regarding online abuse and will enable improvements in their production at different future events.

“Unfortunately, online violence is inevitable”

Kirsty Burrows, head of the IOC’s Safe Sport Unit, highlighted that online abuse has become a key challenge that needs to be addressed. “For Paris 2024, we expect around 500 million posts… unfortunately, online violence is inevitable,” she commented.

15,000 athletes and over 2,000 officials will be able to benefit from this system at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim is to ensure a safe environment to support and promote the physical and mental well-being of athletes so they can focus on competing. “By using AI, we can better understand online violence in sports and develop data-driven strategies and interventions to create safe environments for athletes,” Burrows stated.

The tool has already been successfully tested at the Olympic Esports Week, where it monitored content on social media directed towards players. It identified insults, offensive images, or phrases indicating abuse, analyzed over 17,000 posts, and detected 199 abusive messages from 48 authors directed at 122 players.

This pilot study helped the IOC understand the scope, scale, and severity of the online abuse problem and provided a monitoring, analysis, and action model. In Paris 2024, IOC Protection Officers will be included in the Olympic Village during the games to monitor all incidents.


The IOC also offers a quota of Welfare Officer accreditations to all delegations at the Games. These are aimed at mental health professionals, and educational material from the IOC on harassment and abuse in sports will be made available to them. Additionally, participants will have access to a dedicated mental health helpline. Over €9 million will also be invested in strengthening the prevention and response to abuse and harassment in sports at the local level.

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