A petition to make Yu-Gi-Oh an Olympic sport is blowing up online

“It is an absolute injustice that Yu-Gi-Oh: The Trading Card Game is not a legitimate sport in the Olympics,” said the guy who started it.

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continues in full swing, we’ve seen some remarkable spots where Japanese culture shone under the sporting event’s brightest spotlight. We’ve heard anime and video game theme songs blast during competitions, and we’ve seen athletes and even broadcasters cosplay as anime characters in a bid to turn more heads.

For all the craziness, this latest petition is perhaps the most unprecedented meeting point of the two: that the popular trading card game Yu-Gi-Oh!  be turned into an official Olympic sport. Now, before you call it ridiculous, you should know that it has blown past its target twice already, and it’s now only over a thousand signatures short of its next goal.

Launched by Xiran Jay Zhao, the change.org petition calls for the International Olympic Committee to add the popular trading card game from the 2000s to its official roster of competitive disciplines since, according to Zhao, it requires just as much skill as any other sport.

“t is an absolute injustice that the game of Yugioh: The Trading Card Game is not a legitimate sport in the Olympics,” Zhao writes in his petition. “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).

I now call on the International Olympic Committee to add Yugioh as an official Olympic sport to both mend this injustice and to apologize to Japan for making them go through with the 2020 Tokyo games.

(image: Change.org)

The petition’s initial target number of signatures was set at 5,000, which it quickly reached. It then sought 10,000 signatures which proved to be another easy mark that it achieved last Friday. With 13,863 signatures as of writing, it’s only a little over 1,100 signatures shy of its current goal of 15,000.

Even if the petition makes its point, its supporters are still miles away from seeing the first Yu-Gi-Oh match in the Olympics. According to the Olympic Charter, for a sport to become a standard in the Olympics, it must be played by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents, and by women in no less than 40 countries and on three continents. It might also see an obstacle in the Olympics’ ruling on “mind sports” as well as sports dependent on mechanical integration. 

The process takes time, and even if the appeal does manage these hurdles, the soonest it might see light is at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Well, this probably gives Yu-Gi-Oh duelists more time to practice!


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