X Games, is an annual sports event hosted by ESPN. Athletes from all kinds of sports participate in these games and win medals based on their performance. One particular Ex Bronze Medalist and Professional Skier, Kristi Leskinen recently tweeted that “no gamer in the world deserves an x games gold medal”.
— Kristi Leskinen (@KristiLeskinen) January 31, 2016
For some background, a Halo 5 tournament took place at X Games Aspen; where Team Evil Geniuses won first place and received gold medals. There has always been a little bitterness surrounding the idea of ‘eSports’ being recognized as actual sports and whether players should be able to call themselves athletes (or e-athletes) and participate in the same playing field as physical sports.
Leskinen didn’t specifically say gamers shouldn’t be able to participate in tournaments, they just aren’t welcomed at X Games. There are some athletes that have to work hard and power through a lot of physical challenges to get to where they are, and when they see gamers slapping on their headsets and tapping on keyboards and winning millions of dollars, they get upset. The idea that gamers don’t have to work as hard as “real” athletes isn’t necessarily true. While anyone can get their hands on a cheap computer and download a video game, not everyone has the patience and dedication to rise up the ranks and actually make a mark in competitive eSports.
“I totally respect gamers, but I believe “X games” medals should only be earned through blood sweat and tears.”
By sharing her opinion, and using the hashtags “#couchgames” and “#athletesonly” there was an obvious uproar created by eSports lovers and gamers which flooded her twitter with sarcastic replies and serious responses about why eSports is infact appreciated by a wide audience.
It’s important to note that X Games isn’t the Olympics. It’s more of a business venture by ESPN where in return of showing sports events, they try to get as more viewers as possible. Passion for e-Sports is more common in today’s youth than you think; and ESPN is trying to shift a little focus on this demographic. ESPN also hosted a Counter Strike tournament last year on X Games where top teams from all over the world participated and won medals.