The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has officially announced its list of games for the upcoming Olympic Esports Series 2023. The nine virtual sports are Archery, Baseball, Chess, Cycling, Dance, Motor Sport, Sailing, Taekwondo and Tennis. The qualification rounds for the Olympic Esports Series have already begun and will continue until May 15.
“The Olympic Movement brings people together in peaceful competition. The Olympic Esports Series 2023 is a continuation of that, with the ambition of creating more spaces to play for both players and fans of elite competition,” said David Lappartient, Chair of the IOC Esports Liaison Group. “We look forward to witnessing some of the world’s best compete on the global stage, as well as exploring together shared opportunities and lessons — across health and wellbeing, training and innovation.”
The qualified Esports athletes will move on to the in-person finals set to take place at Singapore’s Suntec Centre from June 22 to 25. This four-day event will also display virtual sports with technology exhibitions, show matches and panel discussions on virtual sports. The series of competitions will be streamed globally across Olympics.com and Olympic social media channels.
In the past, the IOC has been hesitant to include Esports in the Olympics for various reasons, including the prevalence of violent content. However, they are slowly introducing the rising sport in the Olympic scene. In the wake of Tokyo 2020, the IOC and Intel introduced Intel World Open as an “unofficial Esports Olympics”. It was a tournament that originally scheduled ahead of the then postponed Games.
The format of this tournament includes a national qualifier. There were supposed to be 12 pre-selected nations composed of the four best players in national qualifiers to be featured. This is not the first time that the IOC and tech giant inaugurated an Esports tournament ahead of the Games.
They hosted the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea featuring StarCraft II. Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn ultimately secured the win, taking it home for Canada, over Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin of South Korea.
Also in 2021, the 39th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) recognized Esports and has been approved for inclusion as a medaled sport in the 19th annual Asian Games 2022, originally set to be staged this year in Hangzhou, China but was rescheduled on 23 September to 8 October 2023.
During the meeting, it was announced that break dancing and Esports were approved to be included in the Asian Games. According to the announcement, Esports will join “intellectual titles” of the event alongside chess, and break dancing will be added as “dance sport.” Official game titles to be played during the event have not been disclosed as of this writing.
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