When the first Gran Turismo® game hit the Sony Playstation in 1997, it changed racing games forever. The wide choice of cars, its visual appeal, and the emphasis on real-world physics made it an immediate hit with gamers. However, no one would have imagined that one day Gran Turismo® would become an Olympic sport. And yet, here we are, talking about this topic 24 years later.
It really is not a joke. On April 22, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Gran Turismo® will be part of the first-ever virtual Olympic series. The racing title joins virtual cycling, rowing, sailing and baseball, all of which are Olympic licensed events that will use various platforms of the game publishers for the competition. The virtual series starts on May 13 and ends June 23, ahead of the traditional Olympics scheduled for July in Tokyo.
“The Virtual Olympic Series is a new and unique digital Olympic experience that aims to increase engagement with new audiences in esports.”, said IOC President Thomas Bach. “Its design is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 + 5 and the IOC’s digital strategy. It encourages the practice of sport and promotes the Olympic values, with particular emphasis on youth.”
At this point, you are probably wondering how do you go about making the digital Olympic running team. With only a few weeks between this official announcement and the start of the Olympics, it can be assumed that such plans have been made behind the scenes for some time now.
We say “likely” because the IOC is not giving any additional details other than what we have mentioned above that the competition will take place on the publishers’ platforms. Interested parties – whether players or spectators alike – are encouraged to keep an eye on olympicchannel.com for more information.
Remember when your parents yelled at you for playing games too much, saying you wouldn’t get anywhere? It turns out that video games can make you Olympic champion, we are living in funny times.