Virtual cycling is inching ever closer to becoming an Olympic sport with its inclusion in the Olympic Esports Week this June.
Cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and the virtual riding platform Zwift today announced their combined effort to bring the best of virtual bike racing to the Olympic Esports Week's live series finals, taking place at Singapore’s Suntec Centre June 22-25, 2023.
Organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Esports Series 2023 is meant to showcase the best of virtual sports, both the athleticism and the technologies behind them.
While no Olympic medals will be handed out just yet, this is the IOC's latest step toward potentially including virtual competitions in some form at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, USA.
The Olympic Esports Week evolved from the 2021 Olympic Virtual Series, which took place ahead of the real-world Tokyo Olympic Games and attracted more than 250,000 competitors from across 100 countries to take part in five esport disciplines. Zwift hosted the cycling events there as well as and saw more than 77,000 participants ride over 1.9 million miles during the series.
This June, the series will culminate in the first live and in-person finals, in which players will compete in front of fans and viewers from around the globe for the prestigious title of Olympic Esports Series winner.
The cycling competitors will be selected from the very best cycling esports athletes, based on performances at the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships and the Zwift Grand Prix. In Singapore, 16 finalists (8 men, 8 women) will compete in-person for the honors. The live finals will be broadcasted via Olympics.com and the Olympic social media channels.
Virtual bike racing will be one of nine esports disciplines represented at the Olympic Esports Week, along with Archery, Baseball, Chess, Dance, Motorsport, Taekwondo, Tennis and Sailing.
“The Olympic Movement brings people together in peaceful competition. The Olympic Esports Series 2023 is a continuation of that, with the ambition of creating more spaces to play for both players and fans of elite competition. We look forward to witnessing some of the world’s best compete on the global stage, as well as exploring together shared opportunities and lessons - across health and wellbeing, training and innovation," stated David Lappartient, UCI President and Chair of the IOC Esports Liaison Group.
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