Over the past year, there has been an ever-growing movement to get eSports, which has risen in popularity in recent years, added to the Olympic Games. The IOC (International Olympics Committee) even went as far as holding a hosting a forum to discuss this possibility in Switzerland last month.
Unfortunately, a recent statement from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to Associated Press seems to indicate that eSports won’t be making its Olympic debut anytime soon. This is due to the “violence and discrimination” on display in the games that would likely be featured in an Olympic eSports competition:
“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination. So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”
While these are technically just the thoughts of the Committee President, the movement is unlikely to gain much traction with disdain from higher-ups. Associated Press did question Bach further, pointing out the fact that he has a Gold Medal in Fencing, which has roots in violent sword fighting. He went on to defend that sport, calling it a “civilized expression” of combat, whereas games are still just violent:
“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people. But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”
It is unfortunate that eSports may not get time in the Olympic spotlight anytime due to the Olympic Committee misunderstanding the violence represented in them, but this view change with enough lobbying and effort in support of their addition. Hopefully, eSports will be considered a “civilized expression” and be featured in the Olympics one day.