We've seen the debate whether esports belongs in the Olympics and the answer is finally here - Yes! The International Olympic Committee announced the Olympic Virtual Series, an event dedicated to esports.
The Olympic Games have been around since Ancient Greece, and now they're about to expand with a brand-new discipline: esports. Today, April 22 the International Olympic Committee revealed that the games will partner with various federations and publishers to bring the first-ever event for physical and non-physical virtual sports with the Olympic Virtual Series.
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What Is the Olympic Virtual Series?
For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, we'll get to see virtual competitions. Something similar was planned last year with Rocket League and Street Fighter V but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that the Olympics were also delayed. With the Olympic Virtual Series, esports will finally make an entrance at the Olympics. IOC President Thomas Bach commented:
The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports. Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.
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What Games Will Be in the Olympic Virtual Series?
In order to make it possible the IOC has partnered with international federations and gaming publishers. Here's the full list and what you should expect:
- World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment
- Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – Zwift, Zwift inc.
- World Rowing - Open format
- World Sailing - Virtual Regatta, Virtual Regatta SAS
- Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) - Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
All five OVS events will differ in form and concept, and will operate via the sport’s respective publisher platform where participants will be able to take part. Fans will have the opportunity to engage and follow the events on the Olympic Channel. Additional information on how to participate, as well as prizes included with select events, will be announced soon.
What's even more exciting is that if the Olympic Virtual Series turns out to be a success we'll probably see even more international federations and games join in future editions.
Building on the success of their respective events, both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), along with other International Federations such as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT) have confirmed their excitement and commitment to exploring inclusion in future editions of the OVS.
When Will the Olympic Virtual Series Take Place?
The Olympic Virtual Series is set to take place between May 13 and June 23, 2021.
Olympic Virtual Series: the first-ever Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports will take place from 13th May to 23 June 2021.#StrongerTogether— Olympics (@Olympics) April 22, 2021
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