Will the Olympics Ever Include eSports?
The Rio Olympics 2016 is less than a month away. They have recently announced a two-day eSports tournament. Countries competing in this tournament will send professional gamers (both men and women) over the age of eighteen to Rio.
Only America, Great Britain, Brazil, and Canada have confirmed they were sending teams so far. However, more countries are expected with this two-day tournament for eGames. With this new addition to the games, people are wondering when video games will officially become a sport in the Olympics.
The answer is no, the Olympics will never officially include gamers.
The Olympic games are an old tradition. They started in April 1896 in Athens, Greece. At the time, only nine sports were contested: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, track & field (athletics), shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling. These sports didn’t have any women competing in them either.
In August, there will be twenty-eight sports featured in the games. Out of these twenty-eight games, none of them are very progressive. In fact, in 2005, baseball and softball were removed from the games’ program. Ever since, the baseball and softball representatives have been trying to protest their cast to the International Olympics Committee. If baseball and softball don’t stand a chance, what are the chances for video games? None. Baseball and softball seem like obvious choices for the games, but yet aren’t included. A controversial choice such as gaming will never make the cut.
Getting a new sport into the Olympics is hard. One representative for the sport has to pitch to the International Olympics Committee. Then the committee has to vote. The sport with the majority vote will be added to the Olympics. They recently changed the rule from 2/3 majority to the simple majority, because it was such a difficult process.
This year, seven representatives held presentations. Out of these seven two were selected -- golf and rugby. Video games will never get past this system of going through the committee. Golf and rugby beat out baseball, softball, karate, squash, and roller sports. All of these sports have been around for at least fifty years. Video games only started in the 80s. Something so young won’t stand a chance against sports that have been vying for a spot for half a decade.
The physical aspects of video games (or lack thereof) will also play a key role in why they won’t be included in the Olympics.
The name of the Olympic Games comes from the home of the gods -- Mount Olympus. An Olympian is supposed to represent the strength of a god. How can sports where you move your thumbs ever be compared to this kind of strength? It seems unlikely that it ever will.
It’s also hard to monitor cheating. More active sports have been filled with rumors of people cheating. Lance Armstrong has dealt with performance-enhancing drug allegations several times through out his career. Monitoring a sport such a cycling seems easy -- just have people watching. Yet still, cheating sometimes gets through. Adding in hackers and cheat codes as factors makes it way more difficult to monitor. The Olympics will want to have a guaranteed workable system in place before listening to the esports representative.
The Olympics is already including eSports in its games -- just not officially. There’s a reason why the tournament is only two days. They like the attention eSports bring. They're shiny and the latest trend on the block, which gets the younger generation and advertisers to notice the Olympics.
But the tournament is being kept short nonetheless -- probably the IOC doesn’t want it to draw attention away from the actual events. The tournament is a huge step in eSports becoming part of the games in 2020. This is definitely true. However, it’s already been announced that Pyeongchang will host the eGames in 2018 and Tokyo will host in 2020. Seeing as how they’ve announced a separate event, it seems unlikely that they will combine them.
It would be great if the Olympics officially included eSports. It would make the games feel modern and relevant in a growing world. It could bring the Olympics into the present time, instead of just being an ancient tradition.
However this won’t happen. The Olympics like being built on a tradition. They’ve had years of practice put in place. With the rising violent acts in the world, the games are a reminder of how the world is united. The committee probably doesn’t want to jeopardize this by making a controversial decision like including video gamers. The smart solution is to compromise and have the eGames separately. But if the eGames gets enough attention and views, then maybe one day they’ll reconsider and combine them.