Hold Up, Is League Of Legends An Olympic Sport Now? [Update]
Update: So, I must apologise for not doing this earlier (completely slipped my mind, up until a representative from Riot emailed us), but I got trolled. Like, seriously trolled. Apparently I was the only one not aware that our source, Play4Real, is a completely satirical website, as pointed out by noxville below (thanks by the way). So yeah, read it and have a laugh, but know that none of this is true. Well, except for League of Legends players being considered professional athletes in the United States, that’s no joke.
It’s been a rather…interesting week for Riot Game’s extremely popular MOBA, League of Legends. Last week the United States government announced that it would recognise League of Legends players as professional athletes, allowing them to obtain international sport visas for them to represent their country in international tournaments. What could happen next is even crazier, and possibly history making.
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According to one source, Riot Games has been talking to the Olympic Committee about introducing League of Legends as an Olympic sport in 2016. Riot Games eSports manager Nick Allen says that Riot has been talking with the committee for some time now, and that they are serious about being the first video game introduced as an Olympic sport.
“It’s just good news after more good news for League of Legends. With the United States taking League of Legends more seriously, we finally managed to convince the International Olympic Committee to make League of Legends an official Olympic sport. My reasoning was that if rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport, then League of Legends can surely be one too.”
“I mean, League of Legends requires skills that can apply to many different Olympic sports. In fact, that was the crux of my argument to include League of Legends. You might not believe this, but keeping yourself physically strong is very important in pro League of Legends play. Furthermore, teamwork is also tantamount to success which can be seen in Olympic sports like canoeing and synchronized swimming. I could go on and on, but League of Legends requires just as much dedication as those other Olympic sports.”
Now I completely understand that eSports are sports within their own right, and yes League of Legends and most other eSport titles feature skills that are present in many other Olympic sports, namely teamwork, but should these two competitive scenes mix? Also, in what world do League of Legends players need to be “physically strong” to play a game with a mouse and a keyboard?
Jacques Rogge, current president of the International Olympics Committee, apparently had this to say about the addition of League of Legends to the Olympic Games in 2016.
“We needed a way to make the Olympics more accessible for young people. The sad part is, youth these days do not have the interest or capability to take up other Olympic sports. By introducing the League of Legends as a sport, we hope to rejuvenate the Olympics and maybe get some more youth interested in other Olympic sports like weightlifting or handball.”
Now, according to websites reporting this story, this decision has already been made and League of Legends will debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, but if you hop on over to the official Olympics website there’s nothing to suggest this is true. I’m not saying Riot hasn’t met with the committee to try and get this done, I’m just saying let’s not call it fact just yet. Remember, Counter-Strike and StarCraft II have also been considered by the Olympic committee in the past.
Although, if this really does happen, what does this say about the direction of the Olympic Games? I personally don’t think it’s a great idea, and a friend of mine, who is currently training to get into the 2016 Olympic Games, is not impressed either. Coincidentally, we’re both massive League of Legends players.
Should eSports exist in its own world and stay far away from more physical professional sport? Hit up the comments section, we’d love to know your opinion.