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Do you have what it takes to be a Virtual Olympian?

Which sim/game do you think the IOC should use in any future Olympic Virtual Series?


  • Total voters
    1,080
Ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee has celebrated the start of its inaugural Olympic Virtual Series.

Last month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that motorsport would feature alongside four other sports, in the first ever Olympic Virtual Series (OVS). The IOC has partnered with the FIA to hold an Olympic-licenced championship run exclusively on Gran Turismo Sport. Qualifications for next month's World Final began this week, and will come to a close on the 23rd of May.

The World Finals for the OVS are scheduled for the 23rd of June 2021, with IOC President Thomas Bach describing their goal as being to use virtual sport as a means to engage new Olympic audiences:

“The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports.
"It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
The format of the finals is yet to be confirmed, however the nature of the qualification stage ensures that 16 different countries/territories from at least 5 continents will be represented in the finals. Qualifications are open to anyone over the age of 18 from within the 'Sport' mode of GT Sport. More details about eligibility and selection can be found on the Gran Turismo page about the championship.
It will no doubt disappoint the vast majority of sim racers, that this year's championship will be run exclusively on Gran Turismo Sport. However, considering the IOC's understandable preference of partnering with an International Federation (IF), it does make sense that for the first year this is their chosen platform. After all, the FIA has previously certified the 'Gran Turismo Championships' which have taken place since 2018.

While this year's Olympic Virtual Series is relatively small, the IOC Sports Director, Kit McConnell has already indicated that should the inaugural series prove successful, they "will look to probably expand if [they] are given the opportunity in the future". This is supported by positive developments the IOC has seen with other IFs:

"Building on the success of their respective events, both the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), along with other International Federations such as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT) have confirmed their excitement and commitment to exploring inclusion in future editions of the OVS."
From the sound of things, it could well be that the OVS is here to stay. If so, hopefully it will be in a position to expand such that a much wider platform can be offered to the virtual motorsport world. Not only would this provide opportunities to a wider demographic of the sim racing community, but also further the IOC's efforts to encourage sports participation and engage new audiences.

In recent years, the sim racing world has enjoyed greater exposure than ever before. To see an Olympic-certified series come to fruition is yet another exciting milestone for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, as someone without a PS4, I don't have what it takes to become a Virtual Olympian. We'll pretend it's not the lack of talent that is the real obstacle...

Now over to you, what direction (if any) would you like to see an Olympic virtual motorsport series go in the future?
About author
Charlie Lockwood
23. Motorsport and Sim Racing enthusiast.

Comments

« To see an Olympic-certified series come to fruition is yet another exciting milestone for us to enjoy. »

Errrr... no. It’s a sign of what a huge load of commercial b.s. the Olympics have become. To think that sim racers could compete in the Olympic games is an insult to real athletes who have been training for years and pushed their minds and bodies to the limit.

I like sim racing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it is NOT an Olympic sport.
 
Errrr... no. It’s a sign of what a huge load of commercial b.s. the Olympics have become. To think that sim racers could compete in the Olympic games is an insult to real athletes who have been training for years and pushed their minds and bodies to the limit.

I like sim racing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it is NOT an Olympic sport.
Couldn't agree more. I voted "other", meaning "none". I said it in the last article about this possibility, and I'll say it again... computer games in the Olympics would make them an even bigger joke than they already are.

That said, given that they are a joke and in no way the "pinnacle" of most of the sports they now feature, perhaps adding computer games won't actually make any difference anyway. I doubt I'll be watching either way, track & field aside.
 
« To see an Olympic-certified series come to fruition is yet another exciting milestone for us to enjoy. »

Errrr... no. It’s a sign of what a huge load of commercial b.s. the Olympics have become. To think that sim racers could compete in the Olympic games is an insult to real athletes who have been training for years and pushed their minds and bodies to the limit.

I like sim racing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it is NOT an Olympic sport.
Of course its mostly commercial, what did you expect, but what is your opinion on Olympic sports like shooting?
 
I agree that sim racing is a stretch for the Olympics, my reasons are that I would like to see the Olympics maintain the traditional events. Don't get me wrong I love sim racing and the amount of practice and time to truly get to the top requires a lot of commitment. The other reason I don't agree with Sim Racing in the Olympics is they didn't choose the right sim. Gran Turismo for real...its closer to a game than a sim. So I guess instead of basketball they will play "horse"?
 
I like sim racing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it is NOT an Olympic sport.

I completely agree with this.

It's worth saying that the IOC putting this series together isn't indicative of them considering sim racing an Olympic sport. Also, their virtual series isn't a part of the Olympic games.

Even automobile and motorcycle racing I don't think has featured in a summer Olympic games for over 120 years unless I'm mistaken. Even then there are question marks over which races were IOC approved at the time and which weren't. I think Felipe Massa is pushing to get karting added in 2024, but I digress...

I think the positive takeaway from this is that the IOC has recognised that sim racing can be a good medium to achieve their goals, and have made an effort to work with the FIA to actually embrace something relatively modern. Plenty of International Federations and committees are very set in their ways, used to doing things traditionally and sometimes fear change. Organisations like this with historical significance embracing something new is cool.
 
« To see an Olympic-certified series come to fruition is yet another exciting milestone for us to enjoy. »

Errrr... no. It’s a sign of what a huge load of commercial b.s. the Olympics have become. To think that sim racers could compete in the Olympic games is an insult to real athletes who have been training for years and pushed their minds and bodies to the limit.

I like sim racing, but let’s not kid ourselves: it is NOT an Olympic sport.
I'd say more it's not even a sport let alone Olympics.
 
Of course its mostly commercial, what did you expect, but what is your opinion on Olympic sports like shooting?
You should ask that question to Willy T. Ribbs who is now a competitive shooter (and so is his son.)

I don't know enough about shooting to have an opinion on the subject, to be honest. I do know a little about sim racing, however, enough to have an opinion on its inclusion in the Olympics.

The big problem the IOC is facing right now is finding cities that will actually host the games. They pretty much "gave away" the 2024 and 2028 games because there were so little candidates and the idea of the *Winter* games in Beijing is beyond laughable. The IOC had it coming, of course, with its rampant corruption.
 
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People who complain about the Olympics being commercialised should take a look at the Paralympics - well, that's an alternative - which was why it was so popular at the 2012 Games - it was hard to get tickets there
And to those who complain about commercialisation of sim racing, what about motorsports. It has been commercialised from day 1. Look at F1 and WEC, look at these 'spec' series such as Indycar, look at these one-make production car series - what are they there for? Are they a charitable organisation?

...the idea of the *Winter* games in Beijing is beyond laughable. The IOC had it coming, of course, with its rampant corruption.
Why? Is it that you don't like the idea of China hosting a Winter Olympics? Is it because you expect the world revolve around the west?
 
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insult to real athletes who have been training for years and pushed their minds and bodies to the limit
Would you say the same about shooting or curling? I too think that sports is about pushing the mind and body to the limit but as there already are sports in the Olympic games where this isn't true I don't see why sim racing shouldn't be a part of it.
Still confused why they choose sim racing over real life racing though.
 
I don't like where simracing is going too.. Its getting way too commercial for my liking.

My main concern is that the trend seems to be more and more toward online play. I'm afraid offline racers who race against the AI for fun are going to be left behind eventually. I admit: I have zero interest for online championships, with prize money and the rest. I don't watch online sim races. I simrace so I can have fun and drive. If I want to watch, I want to see real cars and real drivers.
 
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Would you say the same about shooting or curling? I too think that sports is about pushing the mind and body to the limit but as there already are sports in the Olympic games where this isn't true I don't see why sim racing shouldn't be a part of it.
Still confused why they choose sim racing over real life racing though.
I don't want to get into the debate of what is a sport or not. But at least, curling and shooting are done with *real* rocks and *real* guns. Simracing is not real (hence the word sim): it's people sitting in front of a monitor in their jeans and t-shirts. That's where I would draw the line. What's the point of watching sim cars? The point of simracing to me is doing the racing yourself, not watching someone else.

As to why they chose simracing: it's a lot cheaper. Also, this is obviously a move to get young viewers over old farts like me! ;)
 
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