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>> Epic sci-fi clashes between dueling pro gamers, this isn’t the kind of sport you’d expect at the Olympics. And although it’s a long way from being part of the Games, this esports face off is on the Pyeongchang sidelines in a wedding hall, under the blessing of the Olympics Committee, with players even sporting the five rings.
>> I'm Reuters Grace Lee at the Intel Extreme Masters in Gangneung, where 16 of the world's top Starcraft players are here representing their countries in a fierce online battle. Now last year, the IOC finally recognized esports as a kinda sport. But this marks the first time that pro gaming has been linked to the Olympics and even featured on the Olympics Channel.
>> And the stakes are high. The prize money for this event is $150,000, about 6 times more what gold medalists take home from the Olympics. However, it's still an open question whether Olympians themselves consider pro gamers as athletes.>> If they start seeing how we actually compete, how we practice, how much efforts we put in our daily routine to improve and to get better, I think they can only respect the amount of efforts we put into it.
>> At the same time, it’s not like we’re taking anything away from them. It’s just adding more, different competitions. And I think it’s a good thing to have diversity so that it gets more people to tune into the Olympics, in general.>> Some don’t think so. Two-time gold medalist alpine racer Ted Ligety told Reuters, though he enjoys esports, it doesn't have a place on the official Olympic stage.
One reason, there's no risk of injury, unlike many Olympics events. It's something organizers are aware of.>> And then there are some people that think it just doesn't have any fit at all. And I'd like to hear more from them, to figure out is that ever gonna change, are they open-minded?
>> In any case, it was a groundbreaking tournament for more than one reason.>> And a great victorious fight there by Scarlett.>> Sasha Scarlett Hostyn took home the grand prize for Canada, becoming the first female winner of a major global esports tournament.