e-Sports gets cool reception at Winter Games

REUTERS
GANGNEUNG
Published

E-sports have descended on the Olympics, bringing professional gamers to South Korea's first winter Games, but some athletes warming up for real action on nearby slopes are not impressed. Intel Corp, an Olympics sponsor, wrapped up its e-Sports tournament a few km (miles) from one of the Games venues yesterday, three months after the International Olympics Committee recognised competitive computer gaming as a sport.

E-Sports, which often pack sports stadiums and attract huge online audiences, are still considered a long way from becoming a formal part of the Olympics, but the IOC is keeping an open mind, to the chagrin of some Olympians.

This week, players huddled before screens in a wedding hall in Gangneung, wearing shirts branded with the Olympic rings and competing for a $150,000 prize -- more than most gold medalist Olympians will earn in bonuses from their home nations. Some e-Sports players would like competitive gaming to be included as an Olympic sport, making it eligible for inclusion in the Games one day, a prospect that rankles some Olympians.

"They are two totally different worlds," said Alpine skier and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety.

"Physical sports belong in the Olympics. I don't think e-Sports belong in the Olympics," he told Reuters.

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