David Owen

The following email landed in my inbox by mistake this week. It appears to be from someone with an e-sports business.

Dear President Bach, Dear Thomas,

Do you ever get the feeling someone is trying to tell you something?

All of us here at Solipsistic Sports really felt for you all at IOC Tower last week when Budapest joined the exodus from the 2024 Olympics race.

But here’s the thing, Tom, what is it they say? One pull-out (Hamburg) is unfortunate. Two (Rome) smacks of carelessness. And three? Three, my unfortunate friend, means there is a very good chance you are on the wrong side of history.

And now I read there is even an online petition collecting signatures for a referendum on the Paris bid.

But don’t worry, Mr President: as the saying goes, if the world throws you lemons, make lemonade – and we think we have got your ideal juicer.

If the cities of the real world believe that they can no longer afford you, and given the cost and the wastage, I can’t say I blame them, then come rebuild your franchise in the e-world, the digital world, the virtual world that is absorbing more and more of our young people’s waking hours.

Yes sir, instead of feeling sorry for yourselves at this difficult time, why not take the chance I am offering to join our revolution?

The e-sports revolution.

Boxes of votes calling for a referendum on the Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid ©Getty Images
Boxes of votes calling for a referendum on the Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid ©Getty Images

Here at Solipsistic Sports we are confident we can create a suite of games that would give your ancient movement a new lease of life.

Give us a few years and our projections show you could be raking in enough licensing revenue to go e-Olympics only. (After all, the athletes would still have their Diamond Leagues and their single-sport World Championships et cetera, and we all know the TV rights bonanza is on its last legs.)

Think of that, Tommy: no more multimillion-dollar sporting follies; no more worries about doping athletes; no more tickets to offload for endless curling preliminaries; no more referendums; no more rejection.

As for all that fretting about young eyeballs and how to inject youth appeal into the discus, well, cast your cares aside, my friend.

While everyone in your world - the old world - was sweating their guts out trying to keep up with Usain in Rio, the young were playing games like ours.

Our average player is 17 years eight months and two weeks old - and to be brutally honest, they probably spend more time applying pimple cream than watching the Olympics.

But we can change all that, Tombo; let our developers go to work and we can transform a staid, boring old handball court or triathlon race into a competitive gamer’s paradise.

If we get it right - and we will - that means recruiting those pert, valuable young eyeballs on your behalf in a way that real life races and match-ups could never manage.

All that we need is for you to sign over the rights to those five little rings and leave us to do our stuff while you sit back, milk the licence fee and channel the proceeds, as before, into sports development, or whatever else you want to spend your money on.

Imagine, TB, instead of putting yourselves through the wringer to put on one show once every four years - okay, every two years if you include that snow-sports thing that, down here in the sunbelt, we find it hard to get too worked up about - instead of that, every Olympic e-fan could be part of their own Olympic Games every day of every year if they wanted to.

All they would need to do is plug in their favourite gaming console.

And, by the way, no need to worry about your TOP sponsors: we can design in so many display opportunities, they will be as happy as Larry.

That Olympic Channel of yours should come in pretty handy too. You created that to make your Olympic brand part and parcel of young people’s day-to-day lives, didn’t you? Well, need I say more? Two plus two equals four, Tom boy. Except in this case it could be six, or eight!

Not only could players enjoy their own personal e-Olympic experience whenever they wanted, but pretty soon, once we get to work, they will be able to choose their own host-cities from a menu that will run into hundreds.

In other words, they will be able to play not just whenever they want, but wherever they want to, including Hamburg, Rome and Budapest - and there will be no pesky nimbies, with their online petitions, to stop them.

Could an e-sports revolution be attractive to Thomas Bach? ©Getty Images
Could an e-sports revolution be attractive to Thomas Bach? ©Getty Images

The possibilities are literally endless: imagine an e-Olympic world where everyone who wants to, and who pays to play, can be Danny Boyle and design - and watch - their own Opening Ceremony; they can furnish and decorate their own room in the e-Olympic Village; they can compete against each other in games based on Olympic sports; and they can choose to run, paddle or shoot against any Olympian in history.

Imagine, TB, a men's 100 metres final with Owens, Bolt, Borzov, Mo Greene and Carl Lewis - anywhere in the world, in a cost-free virtual stadium you have designed. Our developers could fix it.

Heck, my people tell me there was even a German who won the 100m once. Armin Hary? What do you say? We could throw him into the mix too.

Or what if we could offer you the authentic experience of fencing against Nedo Nadi?

The point is, my friend, at the e-Olympics, no-one need ever get old - and, as technology marches on, the only limits will be those set by the human imagination.

Plus of course every player would be free to focus on just those items on the Olympic menu that most appealed to them. So no need to sit through the dull, boring stuff that, let’s face it, clogs up your Olympic programme out there in the old world.

I mean who, except for Bear Grylls, wants to walk 50 kilometres, let alone watch it?

What is a skeet when it is at home?

And what exactly is modern about a composite event combining, fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and a foot race?

No, my friend, if you want to be modern, say goodbye to the real world and come embrace the e-Olympics.

We are waiting. Get in touch with us here at Solipsistic Sports and let us help you, Mr President. You will not be sorry.


Seymour Y. Telefantz


PS We are thinking of making a similar offer to the Commonwealth Games Federation.