Olympic Virtual Series: An OverviewJul 15, 2021 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate With the changing times and current world situation, the Olympics itself has started to adapt and evolve with the times. With the move to start incorporating eSports into the worldwide event, let's take a quick look at how the International Olympic Committee is implementing it.
Usually, one refers to the World Olympic Games when one thinks of or mentions international sports competitions. These are events where athletes from different countries worldwide participate and compete with each other in the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship. Originating in ancient Greece, the Olympics was originally not only a sports competition but also a religious event. The Greeks created competitive activities where players could present their physical prowess and skills in honor of the various Greek deities. Well, that was in ancient times, but today, the modern Olympics still represent the basic core principles of balanced competitive gameplay, camaraderie, teamwork, physical and/or mental prowess, skill, and the ever-required sportsmanship.
Today's Olympic Games traces back to 1894 in France when Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 1896, the first World Olympic Games was held in Athens, Greece (originally all begun). By 1924, the first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France. The International Olympic Committee created two major Olympic events. These are the Summer and Winter Olympics. They usually alternate with each other in the years that they are held. In addition to the two, other World Olympic events include the Paralympics, Youth, and Special Olympic games to broaden the scope of worldwide sports competition. The Paralympics enables disabled athletes to join in worldwide sports competitions for people with disabilities (like those in wheelchairs). The Youth Olympics are sports events for young people age 18 and below. The Special Olympics have been tailor-made for people with special needs (people with special brain disabilities like Autism)so that they too can join in international sports events.
Today, however, there is an alternative sport classification that the International Olympic Committee can no longer ignore. The eSports realm. Esports has always been considered a class of its own because it operates in a digital virtual environment in computers or video games. The difference from contemporary sports is quite blaring, and although the games may be the same, the use of digital electronic devices to execute the sport (or game) totally throws it out of the definition of both contemporary physical and mental games. Playing Chess with an opponent face to face has extra components added when played competitively online (with the players located far away) or playing basketball with an opposing team where the player dribbles the mouse and keyboard or the game-pad controller instead of the ball. Some eSports games are popularly eSports but would be totally hard to adapt to the contemporary Olympic sports environment and its principles. One cannot play CounterStrike or Physical PaintBall because it is more of a War Game or Kill Sport and definitely not an Olympic Sport.
Despite the difference in gameplay principle, the Olympics has to adapt and evolve with the changing times, and the International Olympic Committee has to deal with this. Another factor is the ongoing pandemic, which has thrown the world into a current day Hunger Games-like sectoral imposed environment, which is for the populace's own protection and to mitigate the spread of disease. This has contributed to the idea of holding sports events via digital and long-distance means as an alternative should face-to-face physical sports be an impossibility. The IOC has taken the first step to include eSport gaming into the Olympic platform of games, albeit at an initially limited scope. Again, the Committee has to classify the digital games that can fit into the current mold of contemporary Olympic Games. Unfortunately, many eSport games do not and cannot fit into the category.
This year, the World Olympics has started to include Olympic eSports or the Olympic Virtual Series (OSV) in its sporting events. For the first time, the electronic Olympic games classification was included at the 2021 Summer Olympics. Again, the Committee adhering to the principles and definition of what an Olympic Game is supposed to be, had to make tough decisions on what eSport or digital-based games to consider, and they chose five. These included Sailing, Rowing, Cycling, MotorSport, and Baseball. Games like Virtual Regatta, eBaseball, and FIA/Grand Tourismo were chosen to be used. Also, digital sports devices were required for Rowing and Cycling where the participant had to exert physical effort similar to the sport in real life, albeit in a virtual indoor environment.
With the introduction of the Olympic Virtual Series to the actual World Olympics, the IOC has opened a new chapter and opportunity for both the digital games industry and the Olympics by creating an added classification of gaming events that may prove beneficial and advantageous for both industries. The World Olympics has been a long-standing event for a very long time, and with Olympic eSports added to the mix, the Olympics would be able to include a much larger number of athletes and spectators to keep the practice going (come low or high water) in the years ahead. Esports may be a class of its own but can be adapted to somehow fit into the mold of contemporary sports games. Whether the world would accept this in the long run is something we will all have to wait and see.