I know what some of you are thinking – if synchronised swimming gets to be an official Olympic sport, why not StarCraft and League of Legends? As it happens, that’s also what Daniel Grzelak, the CEO of Gamer Institute is thinking, and he might actually be able to do something about that.
In an interview with Forbes, Grzelak explained that there’s already a lot of interest in including eSports in the Olympics among gamers.
“We are constantly battling the suggestion that somehow gamers are lesser competitors because ‘they are lazy’ and ‘play’ games. The reality is quite the opposite, and we are always looking for ways to correct those views and provide recognition for competitors,” he said. “The other driver was the London 2012 Olympics and the constant public banter about how some sports just ‘don’t belong.’ We saw eSports as having many significant advantages over some of those disciplines and realized that as a community we could do something about the situation.”
Grzelak also pointed to some of the more obvious advantages of eSports over regular sports, saying that, “Almost anyone can participate, no matter their race, age, or gender. In fact, even people with a variety of disabilities can compete on an even playing field.”
Although getting eSports added to the Olympic lineup is no simple task, Grzelak reckons the chances of it happening are “pretty good”.
“It’s really a matter of when. When will the shift in popular culture occur to the degree required? If you go back 20 years, you won’t find many people taking the odds to back BMX as an Olympic sport, but those who felt the coming shift in popular culture had the vision,” he said. “London marks the second consecutive Olympics where BMX has made an appearance.”
The only question then is, if eSports becomes an Olympic event, would the traditional winners’ podium be replaced by a teabagging pedestal?