It has been known for some time now that Esports could very likely make an appearance at the 2024 Olympic games in Paris, though to what capacity remains to be seen. There's no telling what games will be played, whether they'll be deemed worthy of medals, or if France's Hot Pockets reserves will be enough to sustain all the teams. But if there's one thing I know for sure after watching hours of Twitch streams and VODS in quarantine, it's this: gaming at the Olympics is going to make for an odd combination.
Let me set the stage here. Typically life at the Olympic village is one giant sex party. You have all of these young athletes in their physical prime, after years of being singularly focused on doing the High Jump or Water Polo or whatever, finally able to let loose. The committee literally provides thousands of condoms. They have to make rules banning people from having sex outdoors because everywhere Olympians go, they bump into each other and want to have sex.
Now add gamers to the mix, and this suddenly feels like the premise to the next American Pie movie. We don't want to generalize here, but gamers probably aren't going to be the sexed-up muscle-bound athletic gods like the rest of their Olympic peers. They won't have the conditioning and confidence and social skills one builds up from constantly getting attention from the opposite sex. They will have mad skillz though, and we can just imagine a Jonah Hill-type getting cast to play the Overwatch player that trained for years to hone his clicks per minute, not for cash or glory, but to win a date with the Margot Robbie-type at the Olympic village. (He learns a valuable lesson in the end though about integrity or gaming or something.)
But besides this early-aughts teen sex comedy waiting to happen, we also have gaming culture on an international stage to contend with. Every sport has it's toxicity, but because gaming is online and the anonymity of toxic communities lends itself a sense of safety when being toxic, we end up with incidents like this one. A European pro gamer in an international tournament was banned for three games after he used the name "TaipeiChingChong" while practicing on a Taiwanese server. If he were to do that at the Olympics, he might have caused an international incident. (Or he would have gotten his face caved in by some chiseled Taiwanese gymnast.)
Then picture all of the money coming in from brand new revenue sources and all of the old fogeys at the Olympics trying to make sense of it. There are going to sponsors fighting to see whose keyboard can be the official keyboard of the Olympic games. There are going to be all of the gambling-addicted uncles, who bet on everything from basketball to ping-pong, reading up on obscure gaming glitches that they think can give gamers an edge. Will countries try and recruit international gaming stars like PewDiePie, who might not be a pro-level gamer, but will bring along his massive fan base? Will Mountain Dew re-brand itself as a sports drink?
Of course, we're a long way from entertaining these fish out of the Olympic-sized swimming pool scenarios. As I stated earlier, we have no idea how the Olympic committee will select games, but it's rumored that they want to feature games that promote traditional sports. We'd take that to mean FIFA or NBA2K probably, which have competitive scenes for sure but aren't nearly at the level of League of Legends or Fortnite in terms of attracting a gaming audience. But, there is one game that fits the atmosphere perfectly:
Top Image: Chongkian/Wiki Commons