February 20, 2024

IOC’s inaugural Olympic Esports Week begins with dazzling Opening Ceremony in Singapore

22 Jun 2023 – The International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s first Olympic Esports Week Singapore 2023 officially got underway today, following an Opening Ceremony which used innovative technologies to celebrate where the physical and virtual worlds meet.

The Olympic Movement has come together in Singapore to celebrate the start of the first Olympic Esports Week, the IOC’s first festival of virtual sports and gaming, which is taking place at the Suntec Centre Singapore from 23 to 25 June, and has been created in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Sport Singapore, and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

In a message delivered via hologram at the Opening Ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the players, saying: “The next days will be a time to make history – a celebration of the best of virtual sport and esports – a time for the players to showcase their excellence and their passion for sport. To all the players: now is your moment to shine. Always compete in the spirit of excellence, respect and fair play. Because being a true champion is about so much more than winning.”

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President Bach also thanked Singapore for hosting Olympic Esports Week: “My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to the Organising Committee, the Singapore public authorities and the National Olympic Committee of Singapore for their great support to prepare the stage in such an excellent way for the players.”

The official Opening Ceremony brought together the physical and virtual worlds, and celebrated inclusivity and diversity. Led by Creative Director Beatrice Chia-Richmond (Presplay), the Ceremony included a performance by Singaporean musicians ShiGGa Shay and Aisyah Aziz, and a specially curated poem written by Adam Tie and performed by Gosteloa Spancer, accompanied by a sign language rendering by deaf performer Faaiqah. Innovative technologies including holographic projection, laser projection mapping and automation were deployed, to create a magical show where the lines between the physical and digital worlds were blurred.

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Each of the 10 unique events in the Olympic Esports Series, the thrilling live finals action of which will be a highlight of Olympic Esports Week, was introduced through a series of innovative displays representing the virtual form of the sport, including archery, baseball, chess, cycling, dance, shooting, motor sports, taekwondo and tennis.

IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng said, “Thank you for giving Singapore another great opportunity to co-create a stunning event with the IOC after the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010. Singapore is a country with one of the best technology and innovation ecosystems, and we are honoured to be at the centre once again of such an innovative event and exciting milestone in Olympic Esports Week, helping to bridge the gap between sports, esports and games.”

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The IOC’s Olympic Esports Series 2023 began in March, when both professional and amateur players from across the world were invited to take part in the second edition of the IOC’s virtual sports competition, created in collaboration with International Sports Federations and game publishers. Building on the success of the Olympic Virtual Series in 2021, the number of events has already doubled, with 500,000 players entering qualification rounds and hoping to secure their place in the first finals played live in front of fans.

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In all, 131 finalists have progressed to the Olympic Esports Series finals, and have been welcomed to Singapore by the local organising committee to compete on the global stage over three days, in front of fans, for gold, silver and bronze Olympic Esports Series 2023 trophies. All the thrilling live finals action will be streamed on Olympics.com.

Friday 23: 11.00: Cycling (UCI, Zwift), 13.15: Archery (World Archery, Tic Tac Bow), 17.30: Sailing (World Sailing, Virtual Regatta), 19.45: Dance (International DanceSport Federation, Just Dance)

Saturday 24: 11.45: Baseball (WBSC eBaseball™: POWER PROS), 15.15: Chess (FIDE, Chess), 17.30: Tennis (ITF, Tennis Clash), 19.45: Shooting (ISSF Challenge featuring Fortnite)

Sunday 25:  12.00: Motor sport (Gran Turismo) 15.30: Taekwondo (Virtual Taekwondo)

IOC s inaugural Olympic Esports Week begins with dazzling Opening Ceremony in Singapore


In addition to the Olympic Esports Series, a number of exhibition matches are also set to take place, providing an opportunity for fans to watch some of the world’s best esports players and teams showcase their skills in popular games such as Rocket League, NBA2K and Street Fighter.

Those attending the event will also get to experience the latest virtual sports, gaming and esports innovations, in a specially built free-to-play zone. Ahead of the Opening Ceremony, industry experts were invited to share insights and ideas in the Olympic Esports Week forum, on such important topics as player welfare, diversity and inclusion, and online bullying.

Olympic Esports Week is supported by Worldwide Olympic Partners including Alibaba and Samsung, and continues the IOC’s ambition to support the development of virtual sport and gaming as laid out in Olympic Agenda 2020+5. Sport and gaming fans around the world can follow all the action on Olympics.com and Olympic social media channels between 22 and 25 June.

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