Thousands of Yu-Gi-Oh fans are gathering forces to try and get the card game classed as an official Olympic sport.
If you are of a certain age you’ll remember Yu-Gi-Oh! as the card game or for the manga comic series that quickly branched out to become an ongoing anime series. Xiran Jay Zhao, an avid and long-time fan of the franchise, explained how Yu-Gi-Oh! fits the bill to be an Olympic sport by referencing the competitive nature of the card game and the skill, enduring, and athleticism it takes to be good at it. In the world of competitive Yu-Gi-Oh!, this is not unheard of, but competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! on a world stage as big as the Olympics would be something completely new
Writing on Change.org, Zhao contends:
“It is an absolute injustice that the game of Yugioh: The Trading Card Game is not a legitimate sport in the Olympics. The playing of Yugioh requires dexterity (when drawing the cards), athleticism (when playing the cards), and endurance (when you’re in round 10 of a YCS).”
Xiran Jay Zhao reportedly appealed to the International Olympic Committee to introduced his idea as a means of apologizing “to Japan for making them go through with the 2020 Tokyo games.” Clearly, many feel the same way, as the petition has received over 15,000 signatures of like-minded individuals who feel that this game deserves to be treated similarly as eSports.
Despite eSports being somewhat lacking in the physical exertion factor, they are gaining traction and mass popularity as legitimate sports now. However, even if the petition is, at some point, acknowledged by the Olympic committee, Yu-Gi-Oh! fans will most likely continue to face a long wait before the card game is even considered for elevation to Olympic sport status.
“Did you know that architecture and painting used to be Olympic sports? Contrary to popular belief, the Olympics were never just about physical prowess, they are about excellence in any area,” explained one fan who has signed the petition.
“Currently, we still have artistic events (artistic swimming) and precision events (sharpshooting). eSports and chess are already being considered for the future of the Olympics. Why not Yu-Gi-Oh!?”
‘Breaking’, or competitive breakdancing, while already approved by the committee, will not debut at the games until three years from now. This means that, in Yu-Gi-Oh!’s case, the best-case scenario for its fans is their longed-for sport debuts at the Olympics in 2028. There’s plenty of time left to start training, though, since Konami recently announced three new Yu-Gi-Oh! games will launch in the coming months.