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Viewpoint: Should eSports be in the Olympics?

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retrieved from pcquest.com

retrieved from pcquest.com

retrieved from pcquest.com

Tyler Behm, Sports Reporter

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Competitive video gaming, or eSports as it’s more popularly known, is expanding rapidly. With this growth, there are several parties who believe that they belong in the Olympic Games. According to Karalos Grohmann of Reuters, there are over 250 million competitive gamers around the world, which is more competitors than many Olympic sports combined.  

The argument on whether eSports are a sport or not is up for debate. As of November 2017, the IOC—the International Olympic Committee—ruled competitive gaming is indeed a sport. There are still hurdles to climb for eSports to make an Olympic event, mainly the fact that there is no international organization that governs eSports.  

As long as the content of the video adheres to ‘Olympic Values’—mainly no overt violence or gore—the games could make it into the Olympics someday, according to the IOC.  

The IOC has made it clear that eSports can make it to the Olympics one day, but should they? 

There’s no doubt that there would be an audience for the events, as some gaming tournaments can reach hundreds of thousands of viewers streaming the championships.  

But it’s just playing video games, right? What makes someone who is good at gaming in the same level of excellence as athletes who can run a mile in under four minutes? Or a weightlifter who can bench 500 pounds? These people dedicate their lives to their sports to get to the Olympics, and allowing people who sit in a chair to join them would be outrageous, right?  

No.  

Now it seems counterintuitive, because parents across the world are trying to get their kids off the PlayStations and onto their bicycles. Despite this, those who game competitively for a living put just as much work in as any other athlete would.  

There have been multiple cases of top gamers being injured for periods of time due to wrist, elbow and tendon injuries. You may chuckle, but the schedule is grueling. There are dozens of tournaments a year, with prizes that reach upwards of $10 million for the winning team. These competitions are no joke.  

These players spend upwards of 80 hours a week perfecting their craft, so why is it any different than a basketball player doing the same thing? 

There is a very big market for video games. UWL has a video game club and many students here game regularly. It wouldn’t be surprising if a UWL student decided to hone their Fortnite skills in order to try to make it in the eSports world.  

Along with that, there are many NBA teams who have an official 2k league affiliate, as the NBA 2K league is launching later this year. The market is growing and growing, and the next logical spot is the Olympics.  

The fans are there, the money is there, and the players are the best in the world. Gaming is something that people can relate to as well. There are exponentially more people who have played a video game in their life compared to people who have sat in a bobsled.  

It’s time for people to swallow their pride, it’s just a matter of time before you see the US National Rocket League team playing at the summer Olympics. It’s better to bite the bullet and accept it than to continue to fight it.  

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Viewpoint: Should eSports be in the Olympics?