Singapore is no stranger to hosting inaugural events in the Olympic calendar, having hosted the first Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010 some 13 years ago.
And once again this week the city-state stood at the front of innovation for a new Olympic event, hosting the first in-person Olympic Esports Week including 10 finals in the Olympic Esports Series 2023.
It began with the Olympic Esports Week Forum, which heard from industry leaders in technology, gaming, and real-world sports as well as top players such as Ewok and Jaime “Karma” Bickford.
Then it was time for competition to begin. From the very first event, the Zwift cycling final, to the very last, the eFIBA on NBA2k23 exhibition, sports and gaming came together to produce an impressive show.
Tic Tac Bow (archery), Virtual Regatta (sailing), Just Dance (dance), WBSC eBaseball™: POWER PROS (baseball), Chess.com (chess), Tennis Clash (tennis), ISSF Challenge featuring Fortnite (shooting), and Gran Turismo 7 (motorsport) all also got their time in the limelight under the Olympic Rings.
The shooting and motorsport competitions, played in games with large followings worldwide, understandably proved popular – but it was the Virtual Taekwondo event, the last final of the Olympic Esports Series 2023, which drew one of the biggest crowds of the entire Olympic Esports Week.
Strong local support at Olympic Esports Series taekwondo event
With six local taekwondo athletes having qualified for the final rounds of the competition, the local fans turned up in force to cheer on their players. Two of them made the final, guaranteeing hosts Singapore a winner in the inaugural finals of the Olympic Esports Series and adding some local flair to the final winners list, much to the delight of the public.
There was a special moment during the taekwondo event, as Wu Jingyu‘s young daughter embraced her two-time Olympic champion – and Olympic Esports Series bronze trophy winner – mother, before showing off some taekwondo skills of her own.
Some of the world’s best players in Rocket League, Virtual Table Tennis, duathlon (Arena Games Triathlon), Street Fighter 6, and eFIBA on NBA2K also showed off their skills in fierce competition, regardless of the exhibition status of those events.
And, of course, the public had the chance to enjoy all the free-to-play zones available at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre during the week, perhaps even leaving with a newfound love for a sport or game they got to try for the first time virtually.
An exciting, groundbreaking week at the inaugural Olympic Esports Week may have come to a close, but the memories will live on – both in Singapore and in the players returning home to their countries.