Mike Rowbottom wrote an interesting article in Inside The Games entitled e-sports at the Olympics. Just Say No..
We have to agree with his opinion that e-sports – or computer games – are not sport in the traditional Olympic sense of the word. They are games that are massively popular, hugely lucrative, swiftly growing, but e-sports run counter to the spirit of the Games as Rowbottom explains.
The Alibaba Group is now one of the International Olympic Committee’s top-tier sponsors through to 2028 and has invested US$150 million in South Korea’s International eSports Federation to lobby for e-sports’ inclusion in the Summer Olympic Games.
Competitors are no doubt intense, passionate and skilled at what they do. They clearly demonstrate hand-eye coordination, mental focus under pressure, strategy, and fast-twitch muscles to win their form of competition.
The global e-sports audience in 2015 was estimated at 226 million people. That is clearly significantly larger than the Olympic 10K marathon swimming audience and many events at the Olympics.
“I agree that sports and athleticism at the Olympic showcase is much better appreciated if an athlete is skiing down a mountain, trying to put a hockey puck, soccer ball or water polo ball in a goal, sprinting on a track or in a pool, rowing, cycling – moving with skill, grace and speed,” said Steven Munatones.
But an individual sitting in front of a screen moving his eyes and fingers? I understand that e-sports and showcasing the sport in different venues may be more popular with the younger and future generations of sports fans who grow up glued to their smart phones, laptops and consoles, but I am still an old-school 20th century sports fan.”
Time will soon tell if e-sports gets into the Summer Olympic Games.
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