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2023's Olympic Esports Series will feature Just Dance, Gran Turismo, and Zwift

What is an esport, really?

Congratulations to us! Games have now been recognised as a ‘real’ sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the organisation have announced that qualifications begin today for their Olympics Esports Series 2023. The IOC say “the four day-festival will showcase the very best of virtual sports,” featuring esports titans such as Just Dance and Zwift.

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Professional and amateur players are invited to take part in qualifying rounds starting today, and the series will culminate in the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore - a live in-person finale airing between June 22-25.

Here are the nine featured sports and their accompanying games:

  • Archery – Tic Tac Bow
  • Baseball – WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros
  • Chess –
  • Cycling – Zwift
  • Dance – Just Dance 2023
  • Motorsport – Gran Turismo 7
  • Sailing – Virtual Regatta
  • Taekwondo – Virtual Taekwondo
  • Tennis – Tennis Clash

The IOC says these are the “initially confirmed” games for 2023’s event, so it’s possible they’ll add more titles in the coming months, but so far, I reckon the IOC’s definition of esports is just virtual sports. As in, actual physical sports, but digital - rather than the League Of Legends and Dotas that we’d usually think of. Who knows for sure? Maybe the IOC will recognise Nexus-breaking as a legitimate sport; it certainly does make you break a sweat.

The Olympics isn’t the first sporting event that’s tried to ride the popularity of esports. Last year, the Commonwealth held their own esports Championship Event featuring Dota 2 and Rocket League. At the time, AliceO joked about Zwift joining the lineup, but I guess the IOC misconstrued it as sound advice.

The qualifying window ends on May 15th, so PC players only have a few months to take part in and become Olympians. Unless Gran Turismo 7 makes its way to PC before then, as the series creator teased late last year.

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