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The esports question for the Olympic movement

Miah, A


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Prof Andy Miah
Chair in Science Comms & Future Media


Ever since the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared as Super Mario in the Tokyo 2020 handover ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the scene was set for esports to become part of what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) defines as the ‘Olympic Family’ (OF). The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ brief was brimming with references to Japanese youth culture, Japan’s contribution to gaming history, the future of sports, the integration of increasingly immersive digital storytelling features within elite sports broadcasting, and the gamification of spectatorship. Furthermore, it spoke of the growing proximity of the Olympic and esports industries, which is the focus of this article. More specifically, the article examines the historical development of the relationship between esports and the Olympic Movement, harnessing the metaphor of the ‘family’ as an explanation for why the relationship is complex, multifaceted, unresolved, and intimately tied to a variety of processes that continue to limit further integration.


Miah, A. (2021). The esports question for the Olympic movement. Journal of Olympic studies (Online), 2(2), 14-26.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2021
Publication Date Oct 1, 2021
Deposit Date Oct 25, 2021
Journal Journal of Olympic Studies
Print ISSN 2639-6017
Electronic ISSN 2639-6025
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Volume 2
Issue 2
Pages 14-26
Publisher URL
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Additional Information Access Information : This article is freely available to read using the link above. A companion podcast to this article can be listened to here: