The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now work with five international sports federations and game publishers to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first-ever Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.
Date of the Virtual Olympic Games
Taking place in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the OVS will kick off on May 13 and run through June 23, 2021. The Olympic Virtual Series will engage virtual sports, esports and gaming enthusiasts around the world to reach new Olympic audiences while encouraging the development of physical and non-physical sports in line with the recommendations of the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
IOC President Thomas Bach said, "The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to increase direct engagement with new audiences in virtual sports. Its design is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC Digital Strategy. It encourages participation in sport and promotes Olympic values, with a special focus on youth."
David Lappartient, Chair of the IOC's Esports and Gaming Liaison Group (ELG) and President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), said, "On behalf of the ELG as well as the UCI, I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series. A number of international sports federations have well-established virtual sports initiatives; and thanks to the collaboration between the IOC, international sports federations and publishers, the OVS is an exciting step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement."
The following international federations and game publishers will be part of the Olympic Virtual Series:
- World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) - eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment
- Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) - Zwift, Zwift inc.
- World Rowing - Open Format
- World Sailing - Virtual Regatta, Virtual Regatta SAS
- Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) - Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
The OVS thus creates a stage to connect the physical sports world with the virtual and simulation sports gaming community and provides an opportunity to engage with the Olympic Movement. Each IF will offer its corresponding event in a format that maximizes online mass participation and prioritizes inclusivity and participation through the OVS. The mass participation series will allow participants around the world to compete from home or their training facilities to generate excitement in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Everyone can be a part of it!
All five OVS events will differ in form and concept and will run through the respective publisher platform of the sport in which participants can take part. Fans will have the opportunity to participate and watch the events on the Olympic Channel. More information on how to participate, as well as prizes included in select events, will be announced soon. Information will also be available online at www.olympicchannel.com.
In line with Recommendation 9 of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which states to "encourage the development of virtual sports and expand collaboration with video game communities," the launch of the first-ever OVS supports the IOC's digital strategy and aims to leverage the growing popularity of virtual sports to promote the Olympic Movement, Olympic values and participation in sport, and build direct relationships with young people. It supports IFs in further establishing virtual and simulated sports as a discipline in their regulations and policies. Building on the success of their respective events, both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), as well as other international federations such as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT), have reaffirmed their enthusiasm and commitment to consider inclusion in future editions of the OVS.