AP

Esports has no Olympic future with violence, Thomas Bach says

1 Comment

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach isn’t certain if, or when, esports might be incorporated into the Olympic Games.

But he was clear in an interview with The Associated Press at the Asian Games on Saturday about the need to meet some conditions before being considered.

“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” he told the AP. “So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”

Esports is being held for the first time at the Asian Games as a demonstration sport, and could be a full-medal event in four years in Hangzhou, China.

Could the Olympics be next?

The IOC has been mulling over many of these questions since holding an esports forum in July at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Bach still needs convincing. He won an Olympic gold medal in fencing, which uses swords, and tried to draw a distinction.

“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people,” he said. “But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.”

Asian Games organizers several days ago expressed sympathy for victims of the deadly shooting at a video games tournament in a Florida shopping mall.

They faulted U.S. gun laws, not esports.

“But I think this is a bigger issue of gun control and access to guns,” said Kenneth Fok, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, following the shooting.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Indonesia bids for 2032 Olympics

Thomas Bach: PyeongChang Olympics ‘very close’ to being canceled

Getty Images
Leave a comment

IOC president Thomas Bach said the PyeongChang Olympics were “very close” to being canceled in a CNN interview published Tuesday.

“For cancellation of the Games, the threshold is not military action,” Bach said, after referencing North Korea’s missile tests and the threat of a military strike. “The threshold is that one country would say we are not going because we do not see there the safety and security of our athletes being guaranteed. There, the discussions were not always very easy, to say it diplomatically.”

Both the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics were held without known security disruptions in February and March. North Korea accepted an invitation to participate, with some if its athletes joining South Koreans for a unified women’s hockey team.

Afterward, Thomas Bach met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang and said that Kim supported a plan to have North Koreans compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

The only times the Olympics were canceled came during World War I (1916) and World War II (1940, 1944).

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Bolt eager to prove doubters wrong as soccer trial starts

Thomas Bach, Kim Jong Un talk North Korea Olympic participation

AP
Leave a comment

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Friday.

Bach told an Associated Press Television crew in an exclusive interview that two had a 30-minute formal meeting followed by 45 minutes of casual discussions while watching a football match Friday afternoon at Pyongyang’s huge May Day Stadium.

He said Kim Jong Un supported a plan to have North Korean athletes compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Bach arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday to discuss development of sports in North Korea and the preparation of its athletes to qualify and participate in upcoming Olympics.

He is the first foreign official to meet Kim since the North Korean leader returned earlier this week from a summit in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That was Kim’s first known trip abroad since he assumed power after the death of his father in late 2011.

Kim is to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

Bach’s trip to Pyongyang comes after the IOC played a big part in allowing North Korea to send a delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics.

He said he received a commitment from the North’s National Olympic Committee to participate in the 2020 and 2022 Olympics, along with the respective youth Olympic Games.

“This commitment has been fully supported by the supreme leader Kim Jong Un in a meeting we had this afternoon,” Bach said.

The North and South hailed the PyeongChang Games as a significant step toward easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Raising the level of North Korean athletes has been high on Kim’s agenda since he became leader. Of the 22 North Korean athletes who competed in PyeongChang, only two won places on merit and the other 20 were granted special spots by the IOC.

Bach, who is German, competed in the Olympics for West Germany when the Germanys were still divided and says that gives him a special feeling for the Koreas.

While in PyeongChang, he said he was happy with the role the IOC played but added that sports alone cannot heal all wounds.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Usain Bolt: The Freeze ‘too quick for me’