South Korean StarCraft 2 pro receives U.S. visa for athletics
The first domino fell with Canadian League of Legends professional Danny "Shiphtur" Le receiving an athlete’s visa in summer of 2013. Now South Korea’s Kim Dong-hwan has received the same visa for his athleticism in StarCraft II.
Kim Dong-hwan, also known as “viOLet,” obtained a U.S. visa that equals that of baseball players for the purpose of playing StarCraft II. This visa is known as the “Five Year P-1A Visa.” Due to how often the 63rd best ranked StarCraft II player travels between South Korea and the U.S., this became necessary to compete in the optimal amounts of tournaments; especially since a student visa was previously denied to Kim. Despite perfectly sound reasoning, many people still have difficulty accepting the fact that competitive video games are sports. The concept is fairly new and on surface seems to go against everything you’ve ever thought and known about what a “traditional sport” is.
As long as games like League of Legends and StarCraft II sell out venues like LA’s Staples Center, this trend is only going to grow. These athletes are being recognized for these skills not only by the gaming world but the U.S. Government as well. We’re living in the age of a historical transition and it’s pretty damn exciting if you ask me.