Currently playing for all-female French League of Legends team Out of the Blue, Olimpia "komedyja" Cichosz came out of GIRLGAMER Esports Festival World Edition bearing the champion title. Following controversy regarding the championship’s infrastructure, we hopped in a conversation regarding the opportunities the event provided to female athletes.
Let’s start by talking about your experience in the festival. What were your impressions of it?
I am the only League of Legends player that attended all GIRLGAMER festivals that european players could be a part of. I was there during GG Macau, Portugal, Madrid and Dubai. Overall, i honestly love the event, basically this whole event changed my life - after Macau, I found a team that I played with in Portugal. Then, because we got 2nd place in Portugal me and my previous team found an organisation willing to pay salaries so I could go full time as a player. After that, I found an even better team, my current one, that is also allowing me to be a full time player. So, basically, I can say that attending GG kinda changed my life and I will be forever grateful for that.
About this particular edition, I think I can say everything was really great. The accommodation, and the food, we had guaranteed 3 meals per day, staff was bringing us snacks on stage if there was any delay, were great. The greatest side of GG is their staff. Everyone is really nice, I’ve known them for over 3 years, and they really care about the players. The CEO was bringing sodas on stage when we had a delay. The delays were kinda bad, I have to admit that, but from what I talked to people behind GG it was literally a series of unfortunate events that were causing these delays, and honestly, I never attended a tournament that wouldn't have a delay.
How did the delays affect the players?
I think for us it was fine. Obviously it's not like we were jumping, happy, that yay, our game will be delayed, but i think at this point we are used to it because even different tournaments that we attended have had delays. It's just something that you need to work with, and we were trying to be as profesional about it as we could.
What about in the case of Intz that had a nearly 25 hour delay? Do you think this could affect their gameplay?
I honestly think it was better for them to play the next day rather than play super late on the first day.I do understand that they could be upset about it, but In their place i would have just preferred to play the next day, it's not such a big deal in my eyes.
I think it would be bad if they were being forced to play after us, because we finished around midnight I believe, and from what i know the CS:GO games may have gone way longer than the League of Legends ones, around 35-40 minutes later.
"Attending GG kinda changed my life and I will be forever grateful for that."
What type of opportunities do events like these bring to women athletes?
Finding amazing teams with organisation behind them allowing all of us to be full time players, which I think is the best thing that can happen to a professional.Also, events like GIRLGAMER are showing orgs being interested into getting female teams that there are sponsors that are actually willing to put money into girls playing esports.
For example, Sephora is a sponsor of GG in Portugal and Benefit Cosmetics in Dubai. I feel like female events and teams are attracting brands that usually wouldn't go into esports, which is a great thing in my eyes.
Yes! I was so excited to hear about beauty brands sponsoring too!
We got beauty bags from them, both in Portugal and in Dubai!
Yes, it was a really nice touch. I gave mine to my mom, but still a nice touch haha.
One thing that I think we both know is that there is such a big discrepancy in female vs male esport events. Where do you see the female esports scene getting to in 5 years?
I feel like in five years the female esports scene is going to be really strong due to higher and higher interest in female events. I could observe during my almost five years of playing in the female scene, but I honestly hope that we are going to see at least one female player that will use the female scene as a trampoline to join a mix team.
That could be you.
I honestly don't think so. At this point im 25, soon to be 26, what I think i'm doing is creating easier way for the next generation of females to join the competitive scene, where they will be less harassed than we used to be, and still sometimes are, and will be treated with respect, as a normal players, not “just girls playing League of Legends”.
Do you intend to stay in the scene after you retire as a player?
I hope so, I used to be a manager for my former team, and I was getting a lot of positive feedback from many orgs, some of them were even saying that they would like to hire me in the future.I really do hope I can stay in the esports scene even as a manager,
I would be a great team mom, and I really love the whole environment and people working here. Right now I am trying not to think about it too much, because my player career is at its peak at the moment, so i have to try to make the most use out of it.
What word of advice do you have for the new generation of women athletes?
I think the most important one is to be brave - you are going to face a lot of obstacles, sometimes it may be rough enough to make you cry but I promise if you are going to keep working hard, wipe your tears off and keep your head up at the end it's going to be worth it. Hard work always pays off, so just don't let anyone make you think that you cannot do it. I used to hear the same, I am actually still being told the same things that I've heard in the beginning, but I still did this and I am going to keep going.