Former VALORANT pro turned Paralympian champion blasts Olympics Esports Series

"This isn't esports."

Rowan Crothers, an Australian swimmer who won two gold medals and one silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021 after putting aside a promising career in VALORANT, has criticized the games picked for the upcoming Olympics Esports Series.

Instead of picking up traditional esports such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, and VALORANT for the Olympic Esports Series this yeara crucial step to integrating esports into the Olympic Gamesthe International Olympic Committee has refrained from traditional games and only selected games that mimic traditional esports such as Virtual Taekwondo, Tennis Clash, and WBSC eBASEBALL: POWER PROS to the disappointment of the esports community.

Crothers explained why Olympic Esports Series isn’t inclusive to every competitor.

“Im a Paralympic champion and the fastest swimmer with disability in the world,” Rothers tweeted yesterday. “But Ill never be good enough to be an Olympic swimmer. In esports, I can compete at the highest level, with and against able-bodied players. But this isnt esports. This is virtual traditional sport. I cant balance on a Zwift bike. I cant coordinate my body to dance. I definitely couldnt compete at a top level. But I can use a keyboard, mouse, and microphone. I can compete in CS:GO and VALORANT. So I did. And I was one of the best players in my region.”

Before committing time to prepare for the Tokyo Paralympics, Rothers was well-invested in VALORANT. He played under the nickname Magnetbrain and was the Sova/Jett player for Australian team Pants Down, a top-five team in Australia in the early days of the esport.

Related: All Olympic Esports Series 2023 titles

The International Olympic Committee should have chosen established titles to build its esports strategy, according to Rothers. The Paralympic champion thinks the titles selected only appeal to one crowd and essentially cuts off “15 percent of the global population with a disability.” The numbers are actually higher, as 1.3 billion people (16 percent of the world population) experience a significant disability, according to the World Health Organization.

The Olympic Esports Series 2023 will finish with an offline event, the Olympic Esports Finals 2023, which will be played from June 22 to 25 in Singapore.

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