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Published: April 22, 2021

Written by: Kyamil Nasuf

  • The International Olympic Committee has revealed an upcoming Olympic Virtual Series event
  • It will focus on sports-oriented video games such as Gran Turismo, Zwift, Virtual Regatta, and eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020
  • Sports federations will be invited to manage their respective events

The International Olympic Committee finally gets personally involved in esports giving the green light to competitive gaming events.

IOC Crosses the Threshold to the Esports World

The International Olympic Committee has collaborated with five of the major international sports federations and respective video game publishers to create the Olympic Virtual Series. The OVS will be a unique event with the fact that it is the first esports event to be licensed by the IOC.

“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.” Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee shared in a release.

The OVS will be played across five titles, each dedicated to a popular classical sport –

  • Gran Turismo for motorsport,
  • Zwift for cycling,
  • Virtual Regatta for sailing
  • eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020 for baseball

The event will also include competition in virtual rowing, although the dedicated esports titles for it hasn’t been revealed.

Each of the five events will be managed by a international sports federation dedicated to the respective sport. These are the following:

  • Internationale de l’Automobile for motorsport
  • Union Cylciste Internationale for cycling
  • World Sailing for sailing
  • World Baseball Softball Confederation for baseball
  • World Rowing for rowing

The Federations Outlook and What OVS Means for Esports

David Lappartient, President of the aforementioned Union Cycliste Internatonale shared his thoughts of being a part of the event:

“On behalf of the ELG, as well as the UCI, I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series. A number of international federations have well established virtual sports initiatives; and thanks to the cooperation between the IOC, the international federations and the publishers, the OVS is an exciting step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement”

Union Cycliste Internatonale President of the aforementioned David Lappartient

OVS is looking forward to expand the Olympic audience by propagating both sports and mind sports. This was widely approved of by some of the biggest sports federations in the world, such as FIFA, FIBA, the International Tennis Federation and World Taekwondo.

The event will start at the same time as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on May 13 and will continue until June 23. It will be broadcasted on the Olympic Channel.

It is exciting to see the IOC finally making crossing the threshold to the esports world. It made some of the first steps recently when it approved eight video game titles to be played as medal sports during the 2021 SEA Games. The OVS continues the IOC’s philosophy of evading combat-oriented games and focusing more on ones that emulate live sports. It will be exciting to see how the OVS unfold and what’s to come as Olympic involvement may reshape the future of esports.

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