Olympic President: “You will never achieve in a video game”

That’s right you bunch of lazy, good for nothing slackers! You ought to switch off your computer this instant, get outside and… uhh… do something! Because you’re wasting your life with this videogame rubbish. President of the Olympic committee, Jacques Rogge has hopped onto the already crowded bandwagon of those who think videogames, right after drugs and fast food, are ruining the youth of today.

While speaking on how to communicate the benefits of sport to a younger generation, Rogge decided to pick the easy target and push those buttons that will get concerned parents, teachers and politicians nodding their heads in agreement.

“Kids are attracted to visual, interactive forms of communication. It’s not going to be easy for sport to counter that,” Rogge told The Times, “You won’t hear me saying sport is not fun – it is. But it requires austerity and discipline. The answer is achievement. You will never achieve in a video game. It is not really success.”

This is the kind of poorly formulated statement from figures of authority that only confounds the reasonable debate surrounding videogames and their role in wider society. Implicating games for trapping kids away in their rooms is an argument that, despite being wrong, is also outdated and irrelevant.

The question isn’t “How can we get kids off videogames and onto the running track?” but “How can we get kids to appreciate the value and benefits all forms of entertainment, including sport.”

Whether Mr. Rogge likes it or not, “interactive forms of communication” are integral to our modern existence. If they want young people to appreciate sport, then rubbishing something that is central to their identity can only serve to alienate them.

There are already features in this new technology, social networking especially, that organized sport could implement and use to their advantage. Rather than booing their eyes out and denying the changing world around them they need to embrace it, only then way will modern audiences take their messages about sport and personal “achievement” seriously.