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eSports could push out Aussie favourites at 2032 Brisbane Olympics

Julian Linden, May 8, 2022 3:00PM Kids News

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eSports, like the 2019 Fortnight World Cup final here in New York, attract millions of young followers around the world, which could help make the Olympics more popular among younger generations. Picture: AFP media_cameraeSports, like the 2019 Fortnight World Cup final here in New York, attract millions of young followers around the world, which could help make the Olympics more popular among younger generations. Picture: AFP

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The booming popularity of competitive video gaming is threatening to kill the chances of iconic Australian sports being included in the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.

The host nation is allowed to recommend some new sports for inclusion on the Games program – even if only as a one-off.

There are strict rules, of course, and only one or possibly two sports will be lucky enough to get the final nod, so the competition is already intense.

For Australia’s long-time favourite sports – such as cricket, netball, lifesaving, Aussie rules and rugby league – Brisbane 2032 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the biggest event in world sport.

But Olympic organisers have dropped a massive hint that a left field* rival – video gaming – is building an irresistible case for immediate inclusion.

media_cameraA team of professional eSports gamers plays in a Cyber Games Tournament. Olympic organisers have dropped a big hint that video gaming will be included in the Olympic Games. Picture: iStock

It is now only a matter of time before virtual gaming, also known as eSports, is played at the Olympics and that time could well be Brisbane 2032.

Traditionalists might shake their heads in disbelief and wonder if the world has gone crazy, but the case for e-sports getting an invite to the Olympics is compelling*.

It already has hundreds of millions of players around the world, with the best earning a fortune in organised online competitions. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s only getting bigger.

But the clincher* is that it fits perfectly with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) attempts to modernise its program after already adding sports such as BMX racing, skateboarding and climbing.

Skateboarding - Olympics: Day 13 media_cameraAustralian skateboarder Keegan Palmer won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, the first Games to include skateboarding on its program. It was one of the new sports that organisers hoped would be a hit with a younger audience. Picture: Getty Images

“What we are looking for is sports which are well appreciated by the younger generation,” said the chair of the co-ordination commission for Brisbane 2032, Kirsty Coventry.

“As you’ve already seen with Tokyo and previous Games, it’s really about getting them excited by the Olympic dream.”

Ms Coventry’s message could not be any clearer but, with a decade to go, she emphasised* that it was still way too early to decide which sports would be on the program for Brisbane.

IOC President Bach Brisbane 2032 Media Update media_cameraBrisbane 2032 co-ordination commission chair Kirsty Coventry says the IOC wants to appeal to younger audiences but it is too early to say which sports will be added to the program in Brisbane. Picture: Getty Images

Cricket has plenty of support within the IOC too and has the advantage of being hugely popular on the Indian subcontinent, one of the regions where the IOC wants to attract more viewers.

Cricket has also been played at the Olympics before, in 1900, but if it made a comeback it would most likely be in the faster T20 format.

GLOSSARY

  • left field: something that is surprising or unexpected, not the normal
  • compelling: capable of causing someone to believe or agree
  • clincher: thing that makes a decision firm
  • emphasised: gave particular attention or importance to something

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Which year will Brisbane host the Olympic Games?
  2. Name four iconic Australian sports that could be considered for the Brisbane Olympics program.
  3. Why has the International Olympic Committee added sports like BMX racing and skateboarding?
  4. When was cricket played at an Olympics?
  5. What form of cricket would be most likely to be played at the Brisbane Olympics?

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Make your case
From the suggested sports – cricket, netball, lifesaving, Aussie rules, rugby league or e-sports – which do you think is the best choice to be included in the 2032 Olympic Games?

Write a 1-2 minute speech that could be presented to the IOC to try to convince them that your choice is better than the other options.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Each Olympic Games has its own set of unique “pictograms” to visually represent each of the sports that are part of the event. Design a pictogram for the sport that you selected in the activity above.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
Olympic word splash
Let’s create a word splash. Sit with a partner, and between you, write the word OLYMPICS in the middle of a piece of paper.

Decide who goes first. Then take it in turns to write a word around the central word that you associate with the Olympics.

Keep a tally of how many words you can come up with. Your partner can challenge you to justify how or why the word is associated with the central word.

Did you come up with any wow words that you should share with your class and add to the vocabulary display? Can you use them in a sentence?

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