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Just Dance, Gran Turismo feature in the Olympics' latest stab at esports

Events will include dance, racing and chess.

The International Olympic Committee has announced the Olympic Esports Series, an esports competition which will feature a dance event using Just Dance and racing within Gran Turismo.

Nine virtual sports will be featured, including archery, baseball, cycling, sailing, taekwondo and tennis. Also, chess.

Qualifying events will be held in various video games over the next few months, the IOC said, before the first-ever in-person finals event to be held in Singapore in June.

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This isn't the first time the IOC has tried to do esports. Back in 2021, it held the Olympic Virtual Series ahead of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Games. It featured four sports, and failed to make much of an impression.

This time around, the IOC is getting other game publishers involved.

For example, Ubisoft is handling things with Just Dance, and is selecting a "talented pool of former Just Dance World Cup top athletes" who will get a direct invitation to the Singapore finals.

Many of the events at the Olympic Esports Series will source their champions from the players of mobile apps.

Cycling, for example, will be "reimagined in Zwift", a massively multiplayer cycling and running app. Archery will be represented by new mobile app Tic Tac Bow, which combines "the traditional requirement for accuracy with the choices of the classic pen-and-paper game" noughts and crosses.

Tennis participants will be found via iPhone and Android title Tennis Clash. (Surely we could have had Wii Sports?)

"The Olympic Movement brings people together in peaceful competition," said David Lappartient, chair of the IOC's Esports Liason Group.

"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 well-being, training and innovation."

Qualification for the Olympic Esports Series 2023 is now open, and will close on 15th May. The event's finals will then be held in-person in Singapore from 23rd to 25th June.

Back in 2021, Tokyo's Olympic Games memorably featured a suite of video game music during its opening ceremony.