Yep, they are actually considering making League of Legends an Olympic sport. If you do not know already, League of Legends is a game made by the company Riot in 2009.
In 2009, League of Legends was a tiny DOTA-style game with few players playing professionally. From June 18 to June 20 of 2011, the Season 1 World Championship rolled in with a $100,000 prize pool. Eight qualified teams from NA, EU, Singapore, and the Philippines battled for the $50,000 first place prize and the right to be called Season 1 World Champions. In Season 2, teams around the world attended events hosted by IEM(Intel Extreme Masters), IPL(IGN Pro League), MLG(Major League Gaming), and others to win prize as well as circuit points. In the summer of 2012, each region(Southeast Asia, China, Korea, NA, and EU) had a regional, where the top teams from each region with the most circuit points fought for a place in Season 3 and the Season 2 World Championship. Unlike Season 1, Season 2 had a $2,000,000 prize pool. From October 4 to October 13 of 2012, 12 teams went to LA and fought for the one million dollar first place prize, the Summoners Cup, and the title of Season 2 World Champions. Now LoL is in its 3rd season, and different leagues have been made in each region. The teams play against others every week and have paid salaries as well.
A couple days ago, the United States recognized professional League of Legends players as official athletes and will grant them visas to enter the US. In some offline tournaments in the past, players had always had some issues with their visas and were not able to attend the tournament. This action made by the government should help foreign players attend tournaments in the US. Riot Games Manager Nick Allen spoke out about this event:“This was a lengthy process; we had a lot of people fighting for this and it wasn’t something that happened overnight. This was a constant back and forth of ‘show us more proof… is this realistic?’ and that sort of thing. Eventually it got to the point where they were like ‘we have no reason to say no… okay, this is legitimate.’ ”
After this decesion, the International Olympic Committee has announced that LoL will now be an Olympic Sport. Speculations were made since August of 2012, and now the rumors become official. Riot Nick Allen talks about it in a Gamespot interview:“It’s just good news after more good news for League of Legends,” said Allen, “With the United States taking League of Legends more seriously, we finally managed to convince the International Olympic Committee to make League of Legends an official Olympic sport. My reasoning was that if rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport, then League of Legends can surely be one too.” Nick Allen believes that LoL requires many skills that are different from other Olympic sports. Current president of the International Olympics Committee Jacques Rogge speaks out on his actions:“We needed a way to make the Olympics more accessible for young people,” said Rogge, “The sad part is, youth these days do not have the interest or capability to take up other Olympic sports. By introducing the League of Legends as a sport, we hope to rejuvenate the Olympics and maybe get some more youth interested in other Olympic sports like weightlifting or handball.”
Many players are excited that League of Legends will be a sport in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janerio. “I hope I get to go and kick some a**,” said BalIs of team Cloud 9 HyperX, “I think all those other athletes will be a bit jealous of me and my LoL skills. Honestly, some of these other sports are a little bit weak. Table tennis, really? Thank God people are taking us LoL players more seriously. If I do go, they better get my name right.” “Rio de Janeiro does not sound very fun,” proclaimed NeeGodbro of team Ninjas in Pyjamas, “I hope my fans still come out there to support me if I do get in. And if I do, it will probably be the first time I ever see the Olympics although I’ll most likely be too busy training to watch. I have to go for the gold, you know? There better be air conditioning over there.”
What do i think?
I read the comments of the article announcing the game’s new place in the Olympics, and most of the comments were negative. Throughout history, humanity has shown great distaste towards change. Most people recognize the Olympics as a time where athletes compete in sports and move around a lot. I can understand why people think sitting and playing a computer game will “taint” the significance of the Olympics. It is definitely something very radical to happen to something that has happened since Ancient Greece. However, I feel that most change is beneficial to society and even with great negativity towards it we will eventually accept it. As someone who plays LoL, many skills are required to become successful. Coordination, quick-thinking, mechanics, and knowledge are all needed for LoL, and many are also included in our Olympic Sports. I would have to wonder how Riot will decide who gets to participate. Will we hold a poll where we vote for our players to represent us in the Olympics like they did in the All Stars event in May? Only time will tell and I am certainly happy that e-sports has risen to such a level as to be included in the Olympic Sports.
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