Olympic games are the Oscars of sports events. Only best of the best get to represent their nations and achieve the dream of every athlete – become an Olympic champion. The first Olympics were held back in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, hence the name. Throughout the long history, these games have been modified to include different sports as their popularity increased among the general population. Since esports are becoming more and more popular it wouldn’t be so shocking to see them Olympics as well. In fact, there are some efforts to introduce esports to Olympic Games in 2024.
Esports at Olympics
There is a possibility for esports to be included in Olympics, but only if the bid made by Paris bid committee is accepted. Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris bid committee, confirmed that he plans to speak with both the International Olympic Committee and esports representatives about the inclusion of competitive video game playing into the greatest sports event. The plan, if approved, is to include esports into 2024 Olympics that will be held in Paris.
Estanguet explains the decision to suggest the introduction of esports to Olympics is primarily because of youth. Young people from different parts of the globe are highly interested in esports. The world of online video games played professionally keeps growing year by year. A multitude of tournaments is held on a yearly basis, even more teams, pro players, fans, and even revenue. Tony Estanguet suggests it is important to build bridges and find a common ground so esports players and fans could have the chance to be a part of the world’s sports community.
Bear in mind that just because Tony Estanguet is on board with this idea, it doesn’t mean the committee will accept it immediately. While it would be amazing to see esports as part of 2024 Olympics, the decision isn’t final yet and we’ll have to wait to find out what’s going to happen.
Asia one step ahead
The decision to bid for an introduction to Olympics is a major step toward giving esports mainstream recognition that teams and players fight for. That said, Asia is already one step ahead. In April, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that esports is set to become a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China. This is the bravest and first step toward welcoming esports to the sporting community.
According to OCA, this decision is a result of fast development and popularity of the new form of sports participation among young adults. Although esports are poorly understood and there’s a stigma associated with public’s perception of this new sport, one thing is for sure – they engage youth.
Esports keep youths away from the “streets” and minimize their risk of exposure to harmful substances and illegal behavior. Just because they don’t involve a field and a ball it doesn’t mean they worth less than other sports. In fact, they are modern-day disciplines that are here to stay. It is also important to mention that International Olympic Committee recognizes Asian Games, which gives us a glimpse of hope they may also accept the bid coming from Paris.
To get an approval, the Paris bid committee will have to impress Thomas Bach, IOC president, who wasn’t convinced about inclusion of esports to Asian Games and said: “We aren’t 100% clear whether esports is really sport with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered a sport.”
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Bearing in mind the growing popularity of esports, Paris bid committee wants to introduce them to the 2024 Olympics. Of course, this will happen only if International Olympic Committee approves the idea, but one can always hope.
About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.