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First pro-gamer recognized as an athlete by U.S. Government

Olivia Grace, @@oliviadgrace
December 11, 2013
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A huge step forward has been taken for eSports as StarCraft II pro Kim "viOLet" Dong Hwan has been recognized as an athlete by the U.S. Government. As his sponsors, CSA, and TheDailyDot report, viOLet was one of the first to apply for the P-1A visa when it was opened to pro gamers five months ago. The visa doesn't allow him to permanently reside in the U.S., but does permit him to enter temporarily to participate in tournaments and the like, and is the same as is awarded to other athletes.

While this is undoubtedly a fantastic turn of events for a StarCraft II player whose career has been fraught with mishaps, it is the bigger picture that's really important here. This sets a precedent for eSports' recognition as something on a level footing with traditional sports. It allows pro-gamers to be categorized with traditional athletes, and will only serve to further the reach of eSports and gaming. The normalization of a historically stigmatized industry is nothing but good for gaming and gamers alike. Congratulations, viOLet!


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