Avid gamer Dan Goodfellow doesn't think the inclusion of Esports in the Games would devalue his Olympic medal, writes Paul Martin.
The 24-year-old diving ace is preparing to go for gold in Tokyo this summer alongside Jack Laugher - a partnership which has been strengthened by a shared love of online gaming.
Esports will officially become a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in China and though Goodfellow has some reservations about the Olympics following suit, he would not begrudge the world’s best gamers the chance to compete under their own banner on the world stage.
“I follow Call of Duty and I’m a big World of Warcraft and Destiny player as well, so I watch Esports all the time,” said Goodfellow, who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.
“Because I play a lot of games, I can respect the level of skill they have. People think ‘it’s just people playing video games’ but some of the best in the world are like us – they train for hours every day.
“I am one of the few people that can respect what they do as well as what I do. In a sense, the two things are just as hard, just in different disciplines. I know how hard it is.
“I’ve heard some talk about them being at the Olympics in future. I wouldn’t say I class it as a sport, as such, and I’m not sure if they should be Olympians alongside us. But if they had their own Esports Olympics, that would be completely fair enough.”
Goodfellow and Laugher made sure they packed their monitors for their trip to Edinburgh, where the pair are temporarily training.
The duo have used gaming to stay in constant contact throughout the various national lockdowns and Goodfellow, who won bronze alongside Tom Daley at Rio 2016, relishes plunging into virtual reality
“I’m not at the level of those top players but it’s something I really enjoy doing with my friends,” he said.
“When you’ve not had a great session, it’s a great thing to hop on and unwind from the stress and pressure of Olympic sport and diving.”
With his second Games now just months away, preparations are stepping up a notch but competitions remain in short supply – Goodfellow and Laugher have not taken on their rivals since a runners-up finish in Montreal in the FINA World Series last March.
The duo also occupied the second rung on the rostrum at the 2019 World Championships and they are hopeful of challenging for top spot this summer, with Laugher defending the gold he won alongside Chris Mears in Rio.
“Me and Jack are a relatively new synchro partnership – I only came down from the towers in 2018 – so the longer we have to train the better,” said Goodfellow.
“It’s not necessarily a good thing the Games were postponed but it has given us more time to train and get ourselves ready for our end goal, which is the Olympics.
“We are lucky to be able to train currently and I think we’re looking good. Our improvement is huge every single day.”
Dan Goodfellow is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo, with the same amazing home support as London 2012. Visit @PurplebricksUK. To enter the draw to receive one of 2,020 limited edition prints, visit https://page.purplebricks.co.uk/teamgb_homesupport/