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The Journey to Competitive eSports at the Olympic Games
Shane Addinall posted a post in BlogAn ongoing challenge for digital solutions and products is gaining the respect of established organisations and institutions. This is true of land-based casinos resistance to creating online partnerships, fiat-based banking resisting the inevitable transition to cryptocurrency and till quite recently the Olympic Committees reticence to acknowledge that esports deserves to stand alongside the traditional track and field events. However, those mindsets have begun to shift, subtly in some instance and dramatically in others, as the long-term impact of the pandemic is realised on every aspect of life, including banking, sports, gambling and even education. Olympic Committee Looks to the Future The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a report outlining their vision for the Olympic Games for the next five years titled “Olympic Agenda 2020+5: 15 Recommendations”. This report outlined the following key challenges which the IOC believe to be the roadmap for the development of a stronger more sustainable games: Solidarity – promoting unity and peace through unity in sports despite increasing social, political and economic polarisation. Digitalisation – accepting and integrating new technology in the face of the new digital normal created by the pandemic. Sustainable Development – the IOC sees an opportunity to make a real difference worldwide through their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Credibility – transcend the loss of trust in traditional institutions through integrity, transparency, and good governance. Economic and Financial Resilience - emphasise the Olympic Games contribution to the recovery from the financial crisis triggered by the pandemic. Of particular interest is their increasingly open-minded view of digital development and the new normal that is creates in a post-pandemic world: “COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalisation of society. The physical and digital worlds are progressively merging. This gives us the opportunity to further embrace digital technology as a powerful tool to address people more directly and promote the Olympic values.” This decision to step away from their 2017 claim that they did not believe competitive digital games should ever be considered as sporting activities could be the tipping point that one day sees Olympic eSports become a reality. Virtual Sports: A Green Shoot In the 2020+5 agenda the development of virtual sports and engaging “video gaming communities” was listed as one of the core recommendations for the future of the Olympic Games. They have finally acknowledged the massive reach of video gaming and the power inherent in the communities that have formed in support of various competitive sports games such as FIFA, NBA and others digital sports games. The IOC has also shown interest in the development of Virtual and Augmented Reality to include a level of physicality in games. This could mean the rise of new stars in sports such as archery, bowling, even skiing – all of who compete exclusively in the digital Olympics. Their initial touchpoints for these developments would be to: Establish virtual and simulated forms of Olympic sports Launch unique Olympic products and experiences through virtual and simulated forms of sports The addition of physical virtual sports in the Olympic Programme Support local partnerships between sport and video gaming communities to encourage youth engagement Make available Olympic athlete-related online programmes and digital tools to the competitive video gaming community to support their physical and mental well-being Ultimately the IOC believes that a virtual sports connection is an invaluable source of positive brand association for recognised sport teams and associations. Furthermore, it has the potential to serve as a drawcard, encouraging youth participation in the physical form of the sport they enjoy playing digitally. With the IOC’s dedication to youth health and wellbeing through physical activity, this is a hot button topic for the future of virtual sports in the Olympics. The Future of Olympic eSports A seemingly glaring omission in the 2020+5 agenda is in specific inclusion of competitive esports in their current planning. The short answer is that the IOC has several concerns about esports which currently hamper its inclusion in the Olympics: Most competitive esports are what deem to be “violent” games. The perceived lack of a healthy lifestyle that esports promotes. They have a preference for games based on real-world sports. The Committee did however acknowledge the skill, training and dedication that esports stars apply to achieving the upper echelons of their respective disciplines. This statement goes a long way to having esports players recognised as ‘sports stars’ and not merely ‘gamers’ which in traditional circles has been used in a dismissive manner. With cooperation between esports leagues and the IOC to include a health and fitness component to their contracts with Olympic hopefuls, increased education for the Committee on how the conflicts presented in video games are not triggers for real-life violence and the development of Olympics-aligned versions of popular games, the future of Olympic eSports is brighter than one might initially think. The adoption of virtual sports will allow for video games to become a normal part of the Olympic Games conversation, much like how Bitcoin has been invaluable in educating and normalising cryptocurrencies. Once the heads of the Olympic Committee are comfortable with virtual sports it will be a much simpler process to begin integrating a wide variety of competitive titles like Valorant, League of Legends, Magic the Gathering and myriads of other games that have fan bases that number in the multiple millions worldwide. How Olympic Sports Are Selected Assuming a world where virtual and esports are an accepted part of the Olympic Games, the question becomes how a particular sport gets approved as an Olympic sport. It is important to remember that there are two levels of Olympic approval for sporting events. First, there is IOC recognition which requires a sport to be overseen by an international non-governmental organisation. Secondly, the overseeing body must then administer and enforce all Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code requirements. At this point the sport is simply recognised by the IOC, it has not yet received the green light to be a sporting event that is competed in at the Olympic Games themselves. Here are three key qualifying criteria for competitive sports: The sport must be played by men in a minimum of 75 countries across 4 continents. The sport must be played by women in a minimum of 40 countries across 3 continents. The sport must increase the value and appeal of the games worldwide. Based on the criteria listed above every popular Battle Royale (Fortnite) and MOBA game (League of Legends) on Twitch should automatically qualify for inclusion in the Olympic Games, especially since the Committee has been known to add and remove competitive sports based on current media interest and public awareness.
Cheaters! 18 Star Athletes Caught Cheating in Sports
GP News Team posted a post in BlogDid you know that more than half of the people in the world consider themselves soccer followers? Do you enjoy watching sports and also following who is cheating? This article will explore some of the top athletes cheating in sports. Read on to discover some of the most shocking and famous scandals in sports history. 1. Tonya Harding Orders Knee Wack In the 90s, Tonya Harding and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly worked with Shane Stant and Shawn Eckhardt to attack Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session since she was Tonya Harding's competitor. She was one of the cheaters caught on tape and the video still circulates the internet. 2. Clint Bowyer's Illegal Car Clint Bowyer and his team lost 150 points when his car failed inspection after a New Hampshire win. He and his team tried to appeal the sanctions but lost trying. Denny Hamlin instead won the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. 3. Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong was one of the most famous cheaters. He won 7 Tour de France Titles and overcame cancer so was an inspiration to many. It was later found out that he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career. He lost all of his wins from the Tour de France and received a lifetime ban. He, later on, confessed to using performance drugs. 4. Ben Johnson When you're looking for examples of cheating, check out Canada's Ben Johnson. He impressed the world when he won the Olympics in the 80s for a 100m title. It was later revealed that he was using stanozolol. This drug is a banned anabolic steroid. After this, he received a 2-year ban, and the medal went to Carl Lewis instead. He later on returned in the 90s but received a lifetime ban after he tested positive again. 5. Tom Brady One of the most known football cheaters is Tom Brady. There was a scandal during the 2014-15 AFC Championship between the Indianapolis Colts and the Patriots. The scandal was about the balls being used and how Brady wanted them slightly deflated to have an advantage. After this, he was banned for multiple games and was fined $1 million. 6. Jim Thorpe Jim Thorpe was known for his ability in all sports. He initially won both the decathlon and pentathlon in the Olympic Games in the early 1900s. One year later, they found out that he had played semi-professional baseball which should have disqualified him from the Olympics. He then lost all his medals. Several years later after his death, his medals were restored. 7. Danny Almonte Danny Almonte's parents forged his birth certificate to claim he was 2 years older than he really was. He had accomplishments including throwing a no-hitter in the Little League World Series. After the forgery was discovered, his wins and records were erased. 8. Marion Jones Marion Jones won many medals in the Sydney Olympics for track. For many years, she denied using performance-enhancing drugs. A few years after the Olympic Games, the truth came out when her drug supplier came forward. The drug supplier admitted they gave her 5 illegal PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). She used them before, during, and after the Olympics. She denied this, even under oath. She eventually tested positive and then admitted to taking them. After this, she was banned from Track and Field competitions for 2 years and had to return the medals. She also spent time in prison. 9. Alex Rodriguez Throughout his career, Alex Rodriguez denied using performance-enhancing drugs or steroids. Eventually, he admitted to using them for a 3-year window. The baseball league is starting to crack down on players using these drugs. Others have been accused of using them including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire. 10. Dong Fangxiao During the Sydney Olympics, China had used an underage gymnast in the games. She had used a fake certificate to qualify. She and her teammates then lost the bronze medal after this was discovered. China is suspected of repeating this again in later events. If you're a fan of sports, you should check out these sports slots. 11. Mike Tyson In the late 90s, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson met for a boxing tournament. It was for the heavyweight championship. In a previous fight, Holyfield had beat Tyson. This match, Tyson bit Holyfield twice. The second time he bit him, he bit off part of Holyfield's ear. Afterward, Tyson was disqualified when he charged Holyfield's corner during a break. 12. Fred Lorz Fred Lorz was a marathon runner in the St. Louis Olympics in the early 1900s. He completed the marathon quicker than any of his competitors. Turns out he had received a car ride for part of the race. When this was discovered, he received a lifetime ban. A year later the ban was lifted, and the next year he won a marathon without cheating. 13. David Robertson In the 80s, David Robertson was found to place his ball closer to the cup than where it should have been. He would place the marker on his putter and pick up his ball at the same time. He was moving the marker closer to the cup. Robertson was fined and banned for several years. 14. Diego Maradona Although there was proof Diego Maradona broke the rules, he received no punishment. During the game, Maradona had the ball go into the net using his hand and the referee didn't initially find it. England supporters were unhappy with his cheating event. 15. Barry Bonds Barry Bonds broke the record for the most home runs by any player. He still holds this record. Turns out he was using steroids. While some still say he's one of the greatest players ever, some don't think that's the case since he used steroids. 16. Steve Bartman Steve Bartman was part of the Chicago Cubs and held a great lead over outfielder Moises Alou when it came to the great sport of baseball. When Alou went to catch a ball in the game, Bartman deflected the ball away from him. The Florida Marlins were the opposing team in this game, and won multiple runs in the same inning and defeated the Cubs. Many were angry at Bartman after this for costing the Cubs a win and a spot in the World Series. He eventually moved away and changed his name. 17. Hansie Cronje Hansie Cronje was a big name in cricket in South Africa. He was the captain of the national team and considered one of the best batsmen. There was a recording of him offering to fix matches to receive money in return. The recording also implicated 3 other players. He was then banned for life from playing cricket. 18. Shawn Merriman Shawn Merriman had won Defensive Rookie of the Year and was in the lead of the sacks. In the early 2000s, he was given a suspension after he tested positive for steroids. After he stopped steroids he hasn't played as effectively. Shocking Scandals Some of the most shocking scandals aren't just athletes on their own, but different events or teams cheating together. From the Black Sox Scandal to the Mitchell Report there are plenty of sports scandals out there. The Mitchell Report This report to the Commissioner of Baseball into the illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances was known as the Mitchell Report. It was about uncovering performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. It later identified multiple MLB players who were believed to use performance-enhancing drugs or steroids. The list included names such as Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Roger Clemens, and Jason Giambi. The Black Sox Scandal The Black Sox Scandal wasn't the name of a team, but instead, it was an event this team threw the outcome of the World Series. In the early 1900s, the Chicago White Sox were found to have purposely lost the series against the Cincinnati Reds. In doing so, they'd receive incentives from New York City mobster Arnold Rothstein. They were then banned from baseball and disqualified from being in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The 2011 New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal This New Orleans scandal was known for the ongoing problem of bounties being paid by members of the New Orleans defensive staff. In exchange, Saints players would injure opponents. The defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, was found to be incentivizing a player who injured the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Brett Favre. Williams was then suspended before returning back to the NFL. The head coach, Sean Payton, was suspended for 2012. Spygate In the early 2000s, the New England Patriots were found to be videotaping coaches from the Jets. The NFL then fined coach Bill Bellichick. The Patriots were also fined, and lost a first-round draft pick. Houston Astros Sign Stealing The Houston Astros had a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park. The camera was to decode signs from the catcher to the pitcher and let the batter know what pitch was coming. The former bench coach, Cora, told the replay room to tell the decoded information to a player who would then share it with teammates. It was shared using the cellphone of a staff member on the bench, or another cellphone. The Astros then had a video monitor displayed that had the same footage outside the dugout so players could watch it. Players would hit a trash can with a bat to let the hitter at the plate know what pitch was coming. They also used a computer software program that showed the opposing battery's signals. A staffer would place the stolen signs into a spreadsheet and then run an algorithm. The algorithm would show the opponent's sequencing and what the signs meant. They were eventually caught when the former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal about it. After they were caught, Luhnow and Hinch were suspended for 2020. Rob Manfred also banned Brandon Taubman who was the former assistant general manager. The Astros also lost their 1st and 2nd round selections in the 2020 and 2021 draft and received a fine. Luhnow and Hinch were both fired after being suspended. Michael Vick Authorities had found out Michael Vick was having dog fights taking place on his property. Many of the dogs were pit bulls and were found with intense mistreatment and injuries from the dogfighting. Vick and 3 coconspirators were charged with federal conspiracy charges. Vick went to jail and eventually had to file for bankruptcy. Pete Rose Pete Rose was once the leading hitter for Cincinnati Reds. After he retired, he became a manager for the Reds. Later, they found out that he was betting on the Reds' games while being their manager. He denied he was doing it, and received a lifetime ban from baseball. He later acknowledged that he bet on almost every game he managed. While there have been attempts to have him reinstated, they've been denied. East German Women’s Swim Team In the 60s-70s, the Eastern German Swim Team were not considered strong in the Olympics. To break this, the government decided to give performance-enhancing drugs to the swimmers without their knowledge. The steroids and hormones looked like vitamins. After taking the drugs their wins dramatically increased. After Germany was reunified, the doping scandal was discovered. They found out that East Germany was drugging its players from the 60s-90s to increase swimming performance. 1985 NBA Draft Lottery Many to this day still believe there was a scandal during the 1985 NBA Draft Lottery. Some believe that David Stern, the Commissioner, improved the standing of the New York Knicks franchise. They believe he had the Knicks win the Draft Lottery that year. Currently, it's just speculation and hasn't been proven.