The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has revealed it will partner with five International Sports Federations (IFs) and game publishers to produce the Olympic Virtual Series (OVS), the first-ever, Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports.
And Sailing, one of 33 sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is in the OVS which begins on May 13, continuing through to June 23, 2021.
The IOC expects the series will mobilize virtual sport, esports, and gaming enthusiasts all around the world in order to reach new Olympic audiences, while also encouraging the development of physical and non-physical forms of sports in line with the recommendations of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
“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,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth.”
With Sailing among a number of IFs that have well established virtual sports initiatives, the OVS provides a step forward for the virtual sports world and the Olympic Movement.
International Federations and gaming publishers to be part of the OVS:
• World Sailing – Virtual Regatta, Virtual Regatta SAS
• World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment
• Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – Zwift, Zwift inc.
• World Rowing – Open format
• Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital
Said the IOC in a statement:
The OVS creates a stage to connect the physical sporting world with the virtual and simulation sports gaming community, providing 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 allows participants around the world to compete from home or their training facilities in order to generate excitement in the build-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
All five OVS events will differ in form and concept, and will operate via the sport’s respective publisher platform where participants will be able to take part. Fans will have the opportunity to engage and follow the events on the Olympic Channel. Additional information on how to participate, as well as prizes included with select events, will be announced soon. Information will also be available online at www.olympicchannel.com.
In line with Recommendation 9 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which states “Encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities,” the launch of the first-ever OVS supports the IOC’s Digital Strategy and aims to leverage the growing popularity of virtual sport to promote the Olympic Movement, Olympic values and sports participation and grow direct relations with young people.
It supports the IFs in further establishing virtual and simulated forms of sports as a discipline within their regulations and strategies. 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.
Published on April 22nd, 2021