S1mple has proven he’s not only the GOAT of CS:GO on the server, but with his remarkable poise in the face of the Ukraine crisis back home.

Every sport has a figure that rises above the rest. It’s not just skills on the server, but it’s how they conduct themselves when they aren’t on the court, field, or behind a keyboard. For CS:GO, that man is Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.

A true veteran in every sense of the word, the 24-year-old has dominated CS:GO servers alongside his Ukrainian team Na’vi for years now. And he’s done so at IEM Katowice despite the ongoing conflict less than 1,000 miles from Katowice in his homeland, as Russia has led a war of aggression against the former Soviet territory.

The Navi squad at IEM Katowice 2022. Lineup includes S1mple, electroNic, Perfecto, Boombi4, perfecto and B1t.
S1mple on stage with his teammates. Photo: Helena Kristiansson/ESL

Despite that, he put up massive numbers at Katowice. His team was knocked out earlier today by G2 Esportsbut he was among the best performing players at the event.

Simple at IEM Katowice

  • 1.38 K/D ratio
  • 84.3 damage/round
  • 227 kills across 10 maps
  • Best rating on Na’vi at 1.28

However, it wasn’t his performance on the server that people will remember him for at IEM. It was his perseverance despite what was going on in his homeland. And it was his words, his call for peace in his homeland, that will be echoed in the coming weeks. This is what elevates S1mple beyond being just a good player – his sense of brotherhood with his fellow players, and as a citizen of the world. An ambassador for the sport in the way that Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, Muhammed Ali, and others were for their games in their time.

A speech to be remembered

When S1mple took to the stage on Friday, he was already mourning that he was not at home with family and friends during this troubled time. However, he wanted the focus to remain on the competition, and on peace.

“I want you to know that esports is out of politics. All of you, the players and fans, have nothing to do with government decisions,” S1mple impassioned. “My whole career, I’ve played with Russian players, I’ve played with Ukrainian players, and I’ve played with American players. All of them, great guys. Right now, I stand with my friends.”

He motions to his teammates, which are three Russian players (Denis “electronic” Sharpipov, Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov, and Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy) and one Ukrainian (Valerii “b1t” Vakhoxskyi). This show of unity on Na’vi is something that S1mple seemingly wants the world to emulate, as his countrymen back home stand against their Russian invaders.

“We win together and we lose together. All of us want peace for Ukraine and the world. We are all scared. And all of us need to show example in this tournament for the whole world. We need to stand together with our friends, with our fans, and with everyone that will watch this tournament. We are humans first.”

S1mple on why esports is important during times of strife

S1mple is the face of CS:GO and a perfect ambassador for esports

This speech, and his lasting impact on the CS:GO scene, have solidified S1mple’s status as the face of CS:GO. If it was ever in doubt, it’s in times of strife that a person’s character is truly revealed for the world to see. And s1mple proved that he’s the ambassador for the game and for esports that we need right now.

IEM Katowice concludes later today with the Grand Final between FaZe Clan vs G2 Esports at 8 AM Pacific time. While S1mple will not be the ones to lift the trophy with his teammates, you can be sure he’ll be watching, and cheering, for his brothers in CS:GO.


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Dustin Steiner - Americas Editor

Dustin Steiner

Americas Editor | Twitter: @GetSteinered

Americas Editor for Esports.gg, Dustin Steiner brings a decade of esports newsroom experience to bring fans what they need to know, helping them keep their finger on the pulse of esports as it happens. When he's not helping run the newsroom, you can find him grinding it out on Smash Ultimate, Final Fantasy 14, or probably binge watching Gundam.