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Olympic leaders explore esports

Tokyo Game Show Begins

CHIBA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 21: A man walks past an e-Sports logo during an e-Sports event held as part of the Tokyo Game Show 2017 at Makuhari Messe on September 21, 2017 in Chiba, Japan. The annual game show, which features games from 345 exhibitors for various platforms from game consoles to mobile phones, takes place September 21-24 and will feature eSports. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

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Key Olympic figures, including IOC president Thomas Bach, believe esports “can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement.”

Leaders discussed esports at the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday and were complimentary of esports, which is not yet recognized by the IOC, the first step to potential Olympic inclusion.

“Competitive ‘esports’ could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports,” read a press release from the IOC of findings during Saturday’s meeting.

The Olympic leaders said Saturday they were hopeful of further esports discussions but did not mention possible Olympic inclusion in the release.

Previously, Bach reportedly said in April that the IOC was “not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport.” Bach also spoke out against games that promote violence and killing.

In August, a Paris 2024 Olympic bid leader reportedly said he planned to talk with esports representatives and the IOC about gaming possibly joining the 2024 Olympic program.

Los Angeles 2028 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman has praised esports.

“We view esports’ immense global popularity and continued advances in digital technologies as tremendous tools for reconnecting millennials with the Olympic movement,” Wasserman said in a press release last year. “LA 2024 [sic] will work to ensure technology enhances young people’s sports experiences, instead of replacing them, and becomes a platform for further popularizing Olympic and Paralympic sports.”

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