Paris Olympic Committee To Consider eSports For 2024

from the estadiums-are-cheap-at-least dept

While eSports, or competitive video gaming, has now been a thing for some time, it's rather swift rise in stature is still sprinting past milestones. Once a hobby sport relegated primarily to a few countries in Asia, eSports has since seen its inclusion in college athletics, in coverage on ESPN, and into the business models for real-life major sports leagues. If you were tracking what would be the next natural progression on the eSports legitimacy map, you wouldn't be surprised that the latest milestone reached is the consideration for making eSports a medal event in the Paris Olympic games scheduled for 2024.

The Paris Olympic bid committee will consider esports for inclusion as a medal event in the 2024 Olympic Games, according to Tony Estanguet, the committee’s co-president. Estanguet told the Associated Press that talks have been scheduled with the International Olympic Committee and with esports representatives “to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”

Estanguet also had some thoughts for esports skeptics out there: “We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics.’ The youth, yes they are interested in esport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”

If you might be thinking that this consideration will meet the same swift death past niche competitions have met at Mount Olympics -- competitive poker for instance -- it's worth noting that the distinction here is the medal event, not the inclusion in Olympic games generally. The Rio games already showcased eSports competitions as exhibition matches and Asia's Olympic Council has already included medal events for eSports in the 2022 Asian Games. It seems whatever fortifications have been built against eSports gaining entry to the Olympic castle have already been splintered, making eSports' inclusion in 2024 all the more possible.

Still, we'll have to wait to find out the verdict on this one.

The Paris Olympics 2024 program will be finalized after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so the committee will have years to consider the question and take note of the reception to these showcase competitions.

“There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage,” said Estanguet. “The IOC will have the last say, if they want esports on the program.”

I for one am greatly looking forward to the great fustercluck that will be the IOC's enforcement of its claimed intellectual property rights over the broadcasting of competitions using copyrighted and trademarked gaming content specifically to a fanbase that, by its nature, knows how to use technology to subvert both. Should be fun.

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Filed Under: 2024, esports, olympics

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 13 Aug 2017 @ 4:06pm

    The Olympics' First Encounter With the Machine.

    When the Olympics were restarted in 1896, with significant changes to about 1920, decisions had to be made about new sports. Unlike classical antiquity, it was now normal for people to augment their strength by horse-power or machine power. For sports to be meaningful, some kinds of limits had to be set. The Olympics excluded motor-sports. Automobiles were the leading "high-tech" of the time, but they were excluded. The organizers allowed four fairly uncontroversial post-classical sports (sailing, archery, fencing, and bicycling), and two conspicuous innovations. One innovation was horses, the other was firearms. But no room was made for motor-sport.

    There had been chariot races in the old Olympics, but they had been notoriously corrupt, and they had tended to produce criminal organizations. The Ancient Roman Blue and Green racing factions were roughly the equivalent of Mafia families. The new Olympic horse events were dressage, cross country, and jumping, that is, the amateur styles of riding. The regular type of horse-racing, in a circle, with paid jockeys, was excluded, and so was the racing of horse-drawn carriages. There was a tradition of the early-nineteenth-century upper classes racing light carriages with teams of horses, over the public roads. However, this tradition was linked to gambling, and specifically to "deep play," that is, people gambling for larger sums than they could afford to lose. Europe was still rural enough in 1896 that lots of middle-class people had horses. There was however, a distinction between the kind of riding which involved owning one horse, versus that which involved owning ten or a hundred horses. Precision riding, the type favored by the Olympic committee, involved teaching one horse to do things he didn't think he could do. Read Anne McCaffrey's _The Lady_ (1987) for an understanding of this kind of riding. In England, there was a volunteer cavalry militia, known as the Yeomanry, in which the privates were expected to provide their own horses. In the first instance, it consisted of farmer's sons, with the horses they used around the farm, but upwardly mobile shopkeepers were sending their sons to riding stables to become "horsey." There was this whole pattern of horsemanship which was, in effect, a branch of the Boy Scouts, about being "A Soldier of the Queen."

    Olympic shooting sports were based around the air-rifle and the twenty-two caliber round. In large sections of Europe, air rifles are used for target shooting sports. This reflects gun control, restrictions on hunting, and of course, greater population density. Even rabbits are protected game in Europe, and the ordinary man in the street cannot plead a need to hunt. There were competing forces in society. The Army, getting ready for the First World War, generally wanted every young man to be taught to shoot. Landowners were concerned about poaching. Factory owners were concerned about worker rebellion. etc. etc. Recreational shooting was channeled into a type of gun which had minimal military or crime potential, but which would provide a base for teaching the use of military rifles when the time came. The pattern of European school or recreational club sports was reflected in the Olympics.

    The twenty-two caliber round, the next step up from the air-rifle, is essentially a rabbit-hunting round. The Wikipedia entry for 50 meter pistol refers to indoor range shooting with a Flobert pistol. Circa 1900, Flobert guns were notorious for cheapness. As the 1900 Sears catalog said "We do not recommend or guarantee these 22-cal Flobert rifles. Buy a good rifle-- it will pay in the end." The price for a Flobert Rifle was about two gold dollars, say a hundred dollars in modern money, and the price of a single-shot 22-cal Remington was about five gold dollars, or two hundred and fifty dollars in modern money. Sear's attitude over a range of goods seemed to be that they would sell you cheap and dirty stuff, but they wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting into.

    Upper-class shooting sports took two major forms. One was shooting birds with shotguns, shooting huge numbers of birds, far above modern bag limits, which were driven towards the hunters by "beaters," that is, hunt servants. This is the theme of the film _The Shooting Party_, in which an over-ambitious player recklessly shoots and kills one of the hunt-servants. The other form of upper-class shooting was Safari or Trophy-hunting, going to Africa or Asia to shoot one of the recognized big-game animals: Lions, Tigers, Bears, Elephants, Rhinoceroses, or Buffalo. This last had its own form of corruption. There were Great White Hunters, professionals of the type of the Swedish Baron Bror Blixen, or his English rival Denys Finch-Hatton, rivals both in hunting and in love, who would do whatever they needed to do, in a remote corner of the world, to ensure that their wealthy clients went home with the requisite numbers and types of trophy heads. Finch-Hatton was eventually killed in a crash of the airplane he used to seek out game animals. Blixen is reported to have taken to riding down animals in an automobile.

    The pattern for Olympic riding and shooting was that they were edited down to forms which did not require very large sums of money, which did not link up with organized crime, or involve obviously irresponsible behavior. These approved tendencies converged in the Modern Pentathlon (1912), which was calculated to appeal to young army officers, of the type of George S. Patton. The contestant had to ride a horse, to shoot, to fence, to swim, and to run.

    However, the compromise did not extend to the automobile. Circa 1900, automobile racing, in the grand manner, tended to mean Count X, and his chauffeur, driving Count X's 6-seater German automobile from Paris to Madrid, in competition with Baron Z, and his 6-seater French automobile and chauffeur. The chauffeur was also the mechanic, and did the ongoing work required to keep the machine going
    This kind of racing was affectionately satirized in the 1969 movie _The film Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies_. After a few bad accidents, automobile racing shifted to circular tracks, only a few miles long, which could be closed off. As motorcycles became available, within the economic reach of the working classes, people started racing those, but it tended to be done in fairgrounds, and soon, motorcycle gangs emerged. By the 1930's there was the phenomena of the terrorist motorcycle gang, eg. the French pro-Nazi Croix de Feu ("Cross of Fire"). The recent events in Charlottesville are a return of this pattern.

    The next step up from driving automobiles was flying airplanes. Here's a curious story: one of the Battle of Britain aces in 1940 was a man named Douglas Bader, a double leg amputee. About 1930, he had crashed an airplane, and lost his legs. In the 1930's, the RAF was small and club-able, and no one wanted to tell Bader he was done for. By the time they got up the nerve, he had learned to walk on artificial legs, and to drive again, and to fly again. A legless man has certain advantages in flying-- the blood can't flow down into legs which aren't there, so he is less likely to black out in high-gee turns. Bader eventually got shot down over France, and his artificial legs got broken in a parachute landing. The Luftwaffe mechanics had a go at repairing the artificial legs, while they sent off a message via Switzerland requesting delivery of Bader's spare pair. In due course, the RAF delivered the legs, dropping them by parachute during a bombing raid. However, by that time, Bader had escaped (temporarily) on the Luftwaffe-repaired pair. In another event of the battle, Peter Townsend, who would eventually make Group Captain, and become Princess Margaret's boyfriend, shot down a German pilot. So he went to visit the German pilot in hospital, bearing a gift of cigarettes. That was the way noble knights were supposed to behave to each other. Cigarettes were not disapproved of at that date-- they were included in soldier's rations at the rate of about five cigarettes per meal. To put it in modern terms, think of the gift as a box containing about a hundred dollars worth of assorted nuts, dried fruit, etc. This was the gift of politeness. The gift of intimacy would have been a bottle of whiskey, because a man given a bottle of whiskey is likely to become drunk, and start singing improper songs at the top of his lungs, to the great annoyance of the chief nurse.

    Now, the Olympics is faced with a new technology, Computers and Electronics. The Olympics must edit this technology, rather than blindly rejecting it, or uncritically accepting it. They might say that they will accept Tetris, but they will not accept Grand Theft Auto.

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