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Image credit: Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Olympic officials take baby steps toward recognizing esports

They've created a liaison group to work closer with the esports community.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
07.23.18 in AV
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Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) just convened to discuss how, if at all, they can integrate esports into the world's most famous sporting stage. The forum, held over the weekend in Lausanne, Switzerland, brought international sporting professionals and administrators together with 150 members of the gaming community including publishers, pro players and media. While no firm plans were made to officially integrate esports into the Olympics, the IOC and GAISF announced they'll form an Esports Liaison Group to keep the conversation going about potential collaboration.

The liaison group is set to present at a series of events throughout the year, from the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires in early October to the Olympic Summit in late December in Tokyo. While one of the top officials on the Paris Olympic bid committee said last August that they'd hold talks with the IOC to get esports into the 2024 games, the forum's action is a far more measured response. Even if it doesn't rush into games, the liaison group will likely investigate ways to bring professional gaming into sporting events -- hopefully closer than competitions held at arms' length from the Olympics, like the Intel Extreme Masters tournament held before the 2018 winter games.

"There was a consensus that future collaboration will be based on ensuring that any activity supports and promotes the Olympic values; and while the goal was not to develop a pathway towards the inclusion of esports on the Olympic programme, we have a strong plan for ongoing dialogue and engagement, and are in a strong position to coordinate and support the wider engagement of the Olympic Movement with esports," IOC sports director Kit McConnell said in the forum's wrap-up post.

A video of the forum's full day of presentations and discussions is below:

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