Olympic Esports: IOC Announces Creation of Esports Games

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Athletes of the future will not necessarily cross finish lines or score goals, some of them may actually be esports professionals gaining victories in virtual games. Such a career proves to be extremely attractive for young people, which is not surprising, given the prospect of earning millions of dollars just by doing what you love. However, such simplicity is illusory, and we will talk about this later. Meanwhile, let’s consider the issue that has been bothering professional gamers for years now – the possibility of traditional esports entering the Olympic arena.

The last, 141st session of the Olympic Committee, which took place on October 15-17, was marked by promising news – Thomas Bach (President of the IOC) announced the creation of a special esports commission authorized to study the possibility of including esports in the list of Olympic disciplines.

According to the IOC President, about three billion players enjoy computer games all over the world. It’s estimated that over 500 million of them are keen on esports, which includes both virtual disciplines and sports simulations. To say more, a lot of fans have their favorite esports betting site where they watch epic matches between world-renowned teams and earn money by predicting the outcome of the event. Obviously, computer games have long ceased to be mere entertainment – esports tournaments have grown to a phenomenon of planetary scale, making the hearts of millions skip a beat watching what is happening on the screen.

Thomas Bach also highlighted one of the main reasons for the IOC’s decision to create Esports Games, saying that most players are 19-34 years old; they live in the digital era and have a new, distinctive way of thinking that just cannot be ignored.

The IOC president noted that sports should follow people. “This is true for both worlds – digital and real. Today, sports have to compete for the time and attention of young people. Therefore, we have to reach the youth where they are in this digital world.”
The organization began to work on the matter in 2018, and already in 2021, they held the first tournament – the Olympic Virtual Series. However, this was just a pilot venture, while the launch of Esports Games is announced to be the next step forward in the development and promotion of virtual sports on the global arena.

Why Esports Deserve Place in the Olympics

Esports are not easy. Scientists at the German Sports University carefully studied cyber-athletes and came to the conclusion that they can be considered true sportsmen. Representatives of some disciplines perform 400 movements on the keyboard and mouse in one minute, and this is four times more than an untrained person is able to do. At the same time, the movements are asymmetrical, which requires the simultaneous activity of different parts of the brain – such a level of tension is not observed in other sports.

Moreover, cyber-athletes have almost the same amount of the hormone cortisol as race car drivers. Combined with a high heart rate, this resembles the state of a marathon runner.

Esports also require great psychological endurance. A study conducted by scientists from the University of Chichester shows that at top esports tournaments, players face as many as 51 types of stress factors, including team communication problems and fear of performing in front of a live audience. Thus, the level of psychological stress is similar to that of professional athletes in traditional disciplines, such as football or rugby.

Just like Olympians who spend countless hours honing their skills and techniques, esports athletes also devote a lot of time to sharpening their mastery. It’s not just about pressing buttons, the point is in learning, understanding the game, analyzing the opponent’s strategy, and developing one’s own winning tactics. No doubt, esports is exciting, and it would be great to see our favorite disciplines in the Olympics.

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