top of page

eSports as a sport!

Brasilia, April 10, 2023

Much has been questioned about the regulation and recognition of eSports as a sport, especially in the Olympic universe.

Electronic games and Olympic sports have a long-standing relationship, but few remember, and for this reason, as a beautiful series from my childhood said: "Sit down, here comes some history!"

In 1983, The Activision Decathlon, popularly known as Decathlon, was a sports video game written by David Crane for the Atari 2600 and published by Activision in which up to four players could compete in the ten different events of a real-life decathlon.

One of the most popular electronic sports games of the Atari 2600 generation, Decathlon had the ten decathlon modalities, shown in a creative and unprecedented way: the 100 meter sprint, long jump, shot put, 110 meter hurdles, discus throw, javelin throw, 400 meter dash, pole vault, high jump, and the 1500 meter dash long run.

The game was forever marked by users as the "Joystick Breaker", because the lateral running movements that were necessary broke an internal Atari pin, and yes... I was one of the users of this generation that every 15 days let my parents crazy because they had to take the joystick for repairs to the only store that did this type of service in my city at that time.

The commercial for the game, was starred by the Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner and we can say that this was the 1st generation of Olympic sports and Games.

In 2007 we can consider what would be the 2nd generation of Olympic sports and Games, with the launch of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the Wii console.

Produced by the giants, and by the way, competitors in the world of games, Nintendo and Sega joined their most famous franchise characters, Mario and Sonic, in a game based on the 2008 Olympic Games, in Beijing, China.

The great differential of this generation was the Wii console that had a movement sensor, mapping the entire body of the users and making it simulate the movements of the modalities to be able to play. A franchise that lasts until today in all subsequent editions of the Olympic Games.

But what would be the definition of eSports and sport?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) makes a distinction between "sport" and "modality". A sport, in Olympic terms, is a sport or a set of sports represented by an International Federation.

Sport is any form of practicing physical activity, in a methodical way, with competitive objectives, which, through casual or organized participation, prioritizes maintaining or improving physical abilities, providing fun for the participants and, in some cases, entertainment for the spectators.

The author of this text has the following line of thought in relation to eSports:

- Electronic Sports: any and all sports modality that can be reproduced on consoles for gameplay through controls, whether for PCs, mobiles or consoles in general. Ex: Football, Basketball, Tennis, Baseball.

- Virtualized Sport: any and all sports that can be reproduced electronically, using simulators that provide real physical effort to a similar modality performed in an outdoor environment. Ex: Cycling, rowing, running, tennis, golf.

- Electronic Games: any and all games that have a strategy platform developed for consoles, be they PCs, mobiles or consoles in general. Ex: League of Legends, Battle Royale, Counter Strike, Chess.

(Abreu, 2023)

The 3rd generation of Olympic sports and Games.

It is not new that the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as the author of this text, talk about the implementation of eSports in the Olympic Games.

In January 2020, before the world was brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic, IOC President Mr. Thomas Bach, gave a statement during the official press conference, when asked about the introduction of electronic sports in the Olympic movement.

A modality, to become Olympic, goes through a long process in which:

Emergence of the modality> creation of the modality leagues> creation of state federations> creation of the national confederation> creation of the international federation> pleading with the Olympic movement> recognition as an Olympic modality.

But what we see today is an INVERSION OF THE PYRAMID, in which not only the IOC leads this process, but also the international federations of sports that have already adhered to their virtual versions.

The Olympic Virtual Series took place from May 13 to June 23, 2021 with the aim of connecting physical sport worldwide with virtual sports and the community using virtual or simulator sports games, providing the opportunity to engage in the Olympic movement.

The Olympic Esports Series (OES) is a global virtual and simulated sports competition created by the IOC and in collaboration with International Federations (IFs) and game publishers.

The event kicked off on March 1st, when professional and amateur players from around the world were invited to participate in the qualifying rounds at the featured games that will culminate in live in-person finals in the first Olympic Esports Week, from the 22nd to the 25th of June 2023 in Singapore.

O UCI Cycling Esports World Championships é um campeonato mundial de ciclismo virtual organizado pela Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). A primeira edição foi realizada em 9 de dezembro de 2020, apresentando um evento masculino e feminino em uma rota virtual de 50 quilômetros .

The UCI Cycling Esports World Championships is a virtual cycling world championship organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The first edition was held on December 9, 2020, featuring a men's and women's event on a virtual 50 kilometer route.

World Taekwondo envisioned the future with Virtual Taekwondo - an immersive, non-contact, virtual sport that uses highly accurate, real-time motion tracking of a player's full-body movements to turn taekwondo skill into a virtual competition.

Brazil in the eSports scenario.

Without a doubt, Brazil is indeed a world reference in the eSports scenario, given the great success of streamers Gaules and Nobru, as well as teams like Loud, Furia and Vivo Keyd that have an organizational structure and sponsors in which many teams/sports clubs considered traditional do not reach 1% of the revenue generated or captured.

But when we talk about Olympic modalities, we are in the phase of awareness by the public and managers, because there is a preconception about the modalities being considered a competitive sport; but against facts and data there are no arguments.

Since 2020, initially with BRAZILIAN VIRTUAL CYCLING, and now with the expansion to BRAZILIAN VIRTUAL COMPETITIONS, with the introduction of running and rowing, we are the only ones to develop this format of competitions and actions in Latin America, in addition to being recognized by the World Electronic Sports Consortium (WESCO), by the Brazilian Electronic Sports Confederation (CBDEL) and by the Brazilian University Sports Confederation (CBDU).

We were the first in the WORLD to hold a real and virtual competition simultaneously, in partnership with L'Etape Brasil by Tour de France.

We were also the first in the WORLD to develop a LIVE TRACKING system with an avatar on a real course for running competitions.

In addition, we won 3rd place in the Sport and Innovation Award held by the Brazilian Olympic Committee in the year 2022.

blah....but Virtual is not the same as real! IT WILL BE?

Ricardo Alcici, two-time Brazilian cycling champion, performed a training session using an smart trainer and augmented reality software (a route with GPS data and real videos) and 10 years later he competed in the real race....analyze the numbers and take your own conclusions.

OK...but many will still say...This is not a competition!

Ricardo Alcici x Franklin Almeida

Two-time Brazilian Cycling Champion Pan American Cycling Champion

The future has already arrived for the Olympic sports, but it does not mean that they will end with the outdoor modalities, just add category to the sport modality, attracting a young and connected public.

Schubert Abreu

  • Creator of the Brazilian Virtual Competitions

  • Technical Official - Level 2 | World Triathlon

  • State Road Cycling Commissioner

  • IRONMAN Finisher

  • Amateur triathlete since 1994

  • Marvel, DC Comics fan and Jedi apprentice


bottom of page