Zwift racing one step closer to becoming Olympic sport with new Olympic Virtual Series 

The new competition is part of the Olympics’s move into e-sports and gaming

(Daniel Gould)

Zwift racing is one step closer to becoming an official Olympic discipline, as it now forms part of a new Olympic Virtual Series (OVS) competition.

The new competition being organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which organises the real-world Games, features five e-sports including Zwift racing and virtual motorsports ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.  

This new series of virtual events forms part of the IOC’s plans to move into world of e-sports, with the potential for virtual competition to be included in some form in the 2024 Olympic Games. 

Online racing platform Zwift and cycling’s governing body the UCI have announced that virtual cycling will form part of the month-long OVS, which runs from June 1-27, with mass participation events being held throughout the month. 

Zwift CEO and Co-Founder Eric Min said: "Participation in virtual sports is at an all-time high and Zwift is at the forefront of creating a new genre of physical virtual sport. 

“The Olympic Virtual Series aligns with Zwift’s own mission to engage more people, to connect a global audience, and to speak to a younger generation. We’re thrilled that the IOC and the UCI share in our vision and have selected Zwift to be the publisher for the very first OVS.

The IOC has launched the new Olympic series, which consists of cycling, rowing, baseball-softball, sailing and motorsports, as a way to expand these sports to a wider audience through virtual competition. 

UCI president David Lappartient, who is also head of the IOC’s e-sports and gaming liaison group, said: “The OVS aims to bring the broader cycling and sporting communities together for four exciting weeks of mass participation focused on inclusion and sharing of the Olympic values and spirit.”

Zwift and its CEO Eric Min have made no secret of their ambitions to make virtual racing a full sporting discipline in its own right, having launched the first ever Zwift World Championships last year. 

Min has previously said he wants Zwift racing “to be a fully-fledged Olympic sport,” with the 2024 games in Paris as a potential target.

The IOC is moving towards the inclusion of e-sports as an Olympic field and in 2024 there are plans for virtual events to be held alongside traditional competitions in Paris, including physical events like cycling and competitive video games, although e-sports are not expected to form an official discipline just yet. 

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More information on the Olympic Virtual Series are due to be released by Zwift in the coming weeks.