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Embracing Innovation and Inclusivity: Including E-Sports in the Olympics

Ethan Qi

The first major E-Sports tournament was held in 1972, nearly a century after the modern Olympics began.

Since the Games’ revival in the late 19th century, the Winter and Summer Olympics have united people from across the globe to watch extraordinary displays of athleticism. While the original Olympics held in Athens nearly 3,000 years ago highlighted competitors’ athletic passion and grit in events such as chariot racing and pankration, the Games are constantly evolving to embrace modern sports. One such advancement is E-Sports. While many condemn the grouping of E-Sports with traditional athletic competition, adding it to the Olympics represents a necessary evolution to the Games, aligning with the ever-changing landscape of sports and reflecting the widespread global popularity and competitive nature of electronic gaming.

The Olympics have continuously evolved into new mediums. In fact, the Winter Olympics didn’t begin until nearly 30 years after the introduction of the modern Games. What makes E-Sports unique and particularly compelling for the Olympics is its accessibility. Unlike traditional athletic competitions, E-Sports minimizes the impact of physical limitations, allowing individuals with disabilities or those who face challenges in strenuous activities to compete; while the Paralympic Games already account for athletes with disabilities, E-Sports would bridge the gap for anyone who is still unable to participate. Additionally, the appeal of E-Sports extends to younger audiences as nearly 20 percent of 13-39 year olds watch them, and the total E-Sports audience is projected to reach 577 million by 2024. Moreover, E-Sports can be played anywhere at any time, granted that there is electricity and an internet connection. E-Sports are not confined by either the winter or summer seasons and are largely unaffected by global crises such as pandemics or disasters. The inclusion of E-Sports in the Olympics would provide an inclusive and versatile platform capable of adapting to various circumstances.

Critics may argue against recognizing E-Sports as a sport due to its perceived lack of physical exertion or the alleged promotion of violence in video games; however, these arguments are largely flawed. The International Olympic Committee already acknowledges games like chess as a sport despite its minimal physical exertion compared to E-Sports. Further, defining a sport solely based on physical exertion is quite arbitrary, as sports require a balance of both precision and skill. Archery, for instance, emphasizes precision over physical exertion, much like E-Sports. Additionally, the notion that video games universally promote violence is an over-exaggeration, and if we’re being honest, is just an excuse for parents to get their kids off the screens; Rocket League, for example, is literally just soccer played with cars. Moreover, studies have shown that there’s a negligible correlation between video games and violence. Condemning video games for supposedly promoting violence seems to ignore the fact that plenty of current Olympic sports which are already violent, or dangerous by nature. In boxing, competitors actually sustain injuries, while in video games, real people are not getting hurt. Dismissing E-Sports based on these concerns seems unjustified and ignores the changing landscape of sports in the modern era.

Ultimately, the inclusion of E-Sports in the Olympics is a necessary advancement to the Games. The accessibility of E-Sports and its adaptability to various conditions make it an ideal candidate for the Olympics. Disputes against its inclusion based on physical exertion or the alleged promotion of violence fail to consider the existing inclusion of non-physically demanding and violent sports in the Olympics, and dismissing E-Sports based on these concerns overlooks the broader scope of sports. By recognizing E-Sports, the Olympics can embrace innovation, diversity, and the spirit of competition in the modern world.


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