Fans eager to get competitive gaming recognized as a real sport got a boost recently when the Global Gaming League announced they will be organizing a video gaming "Welcome Event" for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. "The Digital Games" will include World Cup-style national tournaments leading up to an international finals competition in Shanghai, where Olympic soccer matches will be held.

While video games are recognized as an official sport by the Chinese government, the tournament falls quite a bit short of being an official, medal-worthy event at the 2008 games. Still, it's an important first step to that eventual goal, and one that GGL CEO Ted Owen thinks will be popular in its own right. "We believe the crowds we'll get will be far larger than for the Olympic games themselves," he said. That's a little hard to believe, considering 3 million attendees overall are expected for the real games. If the GGL is lucky, maybe they'll be more popular than racewalking ...

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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