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.
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 – Chess.com
- 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 Chess.com and become Olympians. Unless Gran Turismo 7 makes its way to PC before then, as the series creator teased late last year.