The Olympics is reserved only for athletes and sports. Does competitive gaming qualify as a sport? In part 2 of this post we will look at evidence supporting why playing video games should not be considered a sport, and in turn why it should not be part of the Olympics.
While it may pass the eye test by possessing some qualities of sports like fans, commentators, competitiveness, and practice, the claim that there is some physicality to it is not true. According to Anthony Gabianelli of USA Today, there is no physical aspect. It is farfetched to consider carpal tunnel syndrome as an injury resulting from physicality, compared to a torn ACL or broken arm.
To the argument that there are many activities that are considered sports but lack any sort of physicality, according to Anthony Gabinaelli there are different kinds of sports that serve more as entertainment than a real sport. Chess is a “mental sport” and sports like NASCAR, motocross, and Indycar racing are “motorsports”. They have the word “sport” in their name, but are undeniably different from traditional mainstream sports.
Many athletes share Gabianelli’s opinion. Former professional snowboarder Tim Warwood thinks that “sport was all about getting outside, getting wet, muddy, out of breath, you’re not going to get out of breath smashing a controller”. Competitive gaming is not a traditional sport, and therefore should not be an olympic sport because it lacks true physicality and risk of injury.
Moreover, despite esports getting much of the same treatment of real sports like devoted fanbases and sports-like coverage, ESPN president John Skipper says that “its not a sport, its a competition”. Playing videogames may be competitive and entertaining, but it is not a sport.
Lastly, for the activity to even be played in the Olympics, there would be too much complexity with videogame trademarks. You cannot trademark a soccer ball or track field. How would you decide which games to be played in the Olympics? Is it a summer Olympic sport or a winter sport? Even if esports would be considered a sport, seamlessly admitting it into the Olympics is too challenging.