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Monday, April 26, 2021

International Olympic Committee's Olympic Virtual Series of 2021

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We are NOT talking eSports, though.

As you may know, I'm an Olympic athlete. Team Koopa Kingdom will be at the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympic Games in under 100 days. As you may expect, I'm pretty interested in the intersection between videogames and the Olympics. We previously wrote about how there was an Xbox tournament at the 2018 Special Olympics (featuring Forza Motorsport 7), but that's not the real Olympics. Later in 2018, Thomas Bach said that he's definitely against eSports at the Olympic Games due to an association with violence. He's still in charge.

We also noted there are three videogames based on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. One is Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game, which released only in Japan in July 2019 and has apparently been forgotten about since. There is Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which released in 2019 as well. It's pretty bad. Lastly, there is THE PEGASUS DREAM TOUR, which I asked the developers about back in mid-2020. It's still not out yet, but they're allegedly working on it for a 2021 release.

HOWEVER, what this article is ACTUALLY about (I buried the lede, didn't I?) is that the International Olympic Committee is partnering to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first-ever Olympic-licenced event for virtual sports! The series begins this May 13 and ends June 23. Those partners are...

  • Konami with eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020 for baseball. It's popular (and only exists) in Japan, apparently. It's on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and has active updates. From May 24 to June 23—online qualifiers specifically from May 24 to May 30, with the final round on June 23.
  • Zwift Inc. with Zwift for cycling. This is an MMO game that requires a physical cycling device in a virtual world. It was already used to do a virtual Tour de France after the real one got pwned by the Chinese Communist Party Virus. From June 1 to June 23.
  • No one in particular for a World Rowing sport. Really, it says “open format”, so this is probably a fake event. The website entry suggests using a rowing machine in your living room, a gym, or in the ocean. From May 31 to June 23.
  • Virtual Regatta SAS with Virtual Regatta in World Sailing, from May 20 to June 23. Virtual Regatta is apparently a series of free-to-play mobile apps (with in-app purchases) where you command a virtual boat through real weather conditions.
  • Polyphony Digital (a Sony studio) with Gran Turismo for racing, from May 13 to June 6. They didn't specify which Gran Turismo game, but probably Gran Turismo Sport, which has already been used for association-sponsored tournaments.

Virtual Regatta Pirate flag skin preparation offshore game browser sailing
So... THIS is gonna attract the youth, huh?
(Apparently Virtual Regatta can also be browser-based, but I dunno what I'm doing or how to play.
Though I did figure out from its non-labeled UI how to have a pirate flag. Love the pirates.)

The International Olympic Committee did a whole soul-searching exercise with 15 recommendations, and number 9 was “Encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities.” The purpose being to try to get “the youth demographic” to do more sports and be more interested with the Olympics. So in every Thomas Bach media quote about the Olympic Virtual Series, he's off talking about THE YOUTH. Probably those Zoomers whose favourite form of entertainment is playing videogames.

I'm not really sure if the events they selected, and the games (or no game at all) that go along with them, are going to be appealing to THE YOUTH. No word yet on the actual prizes for this Olympic Virtual Series. Is anyone going to wake up after the announcement and declare their life goal (for the next two months) is to be an Olympic Virtual gold medalist in one of these events?

Are you interested in the Olympic Virtual Series? ...Ludwig is disappointed in what is the first real OFFICIAL gaming event crossover between the gaming world and the International Olympic Committee. He'll stick to training for the physical Olympic Games, which you can read his progress on every Friday on KoopaTV.

The Virtual Series happened, and Ludwig checked in on it about three weeks after it finished.


  1. Ah yes, "lets get the youth to do more sports, by having them play videogames". I don't see how that could backfire. I wonder if they have Olympic bowling, it is an esport yknow.

    1. Well, you baited me into this quoting this...

      "However, in September 2015, it was announced that bowling, together with wushu and squash, were left out for 2020. The 2020 Olympic Committee wanted sports that appeal to youth and would not require building new facilities to reduce cost."


    2. "Building New facilities" PSSSHHHHHHH. I'm sure if they put their heads together they could make a portable bowling system. All you really need is one ball and 10 pins, if you must be cheap.

      Bowling is the embodiment of youth. It's the reason that despite the fact that all the bowlers look to be in their 60s, they are actually in their late thirty's. Or so the bowlers tell me.

    3. Bowling is apparently pretty popular in Japan, and they take it seriously, according to this guy's blog post where he pretended to be a bowler and later got called out for it:

      ARE YOU PART OF THE BOWLER LOBBY? ...If you drop all of your spikes, could YOU be used as a bowling ball?

    4. Well identity theft is a serious crime, but I feel so bad for that guy, I could never teach a bowling history class of all things.

      I could in theory act as a bowling ball, but since I am not inanimate I could potentially interfere with the bowling game. Adjusting my body so it rolls more towards the pins, I'd be disqualified. Besides, nobody wants fingers in their eyes and mouth.

    5. I thought Cappy normalised identity theft.

      YOU wouldn't be disqualified, the person bowling with you would. :x

  2. Kids will do literally the last thing you want them to, and will make popular the first thing you don't want them to. This should go well lol.

    1. I think Mario/Cappy/Shinzo Abe in 2016 did more to get kids to care about the Olympics than this well.


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