International Olympic Committee president “not 100% clear” on whether esports can be sports

International Olympic Committee president “not 100% clear” on whether esports can be sports
Jake Tucker

After the announcement of a strategic partnership between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Alibaba’s sporting wing Alisports, esports will become a medalled sport at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

This has drawn controversy and discussion from people in esports and physical sports as both parties come to terms with the fact that perhaps both groups are equally valid types of sports.

The latest person struggling with the concept of medals for digital sports is International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who was asked about the issue at the Pan American Sports Organisation’s general assembly yesterday. He had doubts.

““We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” Bach told Olympic news publication insidethegames, despite the fact the Asian Games are recognised by the IOC.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach was asked about the issue at the Pan American Sports Organization General Assembly, yesterday. And while the Asian Games are recognized by the IOC, Bach showed reservations about esports on the Olympic program.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” Bach told Olympic news publication insidethegames.

“I can only give you a very personal remark, but some of these games are contrary to all our values,” Bach said. The German IOC president has been at the head of the organisation since September 2013, and has referred to the partnership between OCA and Alisports as a “valuable test”

The 63-year-old German, who heads the IOC since Sept. 2013, admitted that esports is highly attractive to youths, however, he’s worried about the lack of organisation, referring to the partnership between OCA and Alisports as a “valuable test” for an Olympic future for esports.

It’s not sure how much familiarity with esports Bach has though, as he claimed he met an esports representative last year in Silicon Valley who told him that he was “very proud that since the invention of a game, something like 400,000 cars have been destroyed.”

Bach said that this figure “quite frankly, did not impress me very much.” Similarly, we’re unimpressed, unable to think of a single top level esport that includes destroying cars.

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