When the original Gran Turismo game first arrived for the Sony Playstation way back in 1997, it forever altered the video game racing genre. Its abundance of cars, visual appeal, and emphasis on real-world physics made it an instant hit with gamers. However, we doubt anyone would've remotely guessed that one day, Gran Turismo would be a freaking Olympic sport. And yet, here we are, talking about this very topic 24 years later.
This truly is no joke. On April 22 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Gran Turismo would be part of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series. The racing title joins virtual cycling, rowing, sailing, and baseball – all of which are Olympic-licensed events that will utilize various platforms from the games' publishers for competition. The virtual series kicks off on May 13 and runs through June 23, wrapping up prior to the traditional Olympic Games scheduled for July in Tokyo.
"The Olympic Virtual Series is a new, unique Olympic digital experience that aims to grow direct engagement with new audiences in the field of virtual sports," said IOC President Thomas Bach. "Its conception is in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the IOC’s Digital Strategy. It encourages sports participation and promotes the Olympic values, with a special focus on youth."
At this point you're probably wondering how one makes the digital Olympic race team. With just a few weeks between this official announcement and the start of the games, presumably such plans have been in the works behind the scenes for some time now. We say presumably because the IOC doesn't offer additional details aside from what we mentioned earlier about competition taking place through the publishers' platforms. Interested individuals – be it for racing or merely spectating – are advised to keep an eye on olympicchannel.com for more information.
So yeah, remember when your parents yelled at you for playing too many games, saying you wouldn't amount to anything? Turns out you could be an Olympic champion. What a strange world this has become.