Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

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FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A competitive virtual sports event was launched Thursday by the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Virtual Series will include five sports — baseball, cycling, auto racing, rowing and sailing — and runs from May 13 to June 23. The Tokyo Olympics open on July 23.

Gaming brands involved in the project include Gran Turismo, Zwift and eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020.

"(The series) will mobilize virtual sport, esports and gaming enthusiasts all around the world in order to reach new Olympic audiences,” the IOC said in a statement.

Details of prizes offered in some events are being finalized, the IOC said.

The Olympic body is hoping to reach more young people with a strategy for virtual sports and gaming and said the series “allows participants around the world to compete from home or their training facilities.”

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