Climbing in the Olympics

As you may have heard, climbing is now an Olympic sport. A far cry from dirt bags in Yosemite or sketchy barefoot climbing Eastern Europeans.

Climbing will be introduced in 3 forms: sport, bouldering and speed.

One of the more interesting of these forms is speed climbing. It’s interesting because it’s not nearly as frequently practiced recreationally as other forms. Sure, you may hear of the speed record on The Nose. However, The Nose speed record is often set by efficiency of climbing technique, not speed as it will appear in the Olympics.

For those who haven’t seen this type of speed climbing, it looks like this:

As such it may present a stumbling block for many other climbers and that is because competitors in the Olympics will be judged on their success in each of these categories. That’s right, you will not go to the Olympics to compete in Bouldering, but rather compete in all three.

What does this mean? Well, the difficulty is that this isn’t reflective of how most people climb. Most people will excel at one type of climbing. Mastery through specialization. This probably means that we may not see the best boulders, or best sport climbers competing for gold. To us, this is a bit of a shame.

However, we must think of the bigger picture and the bigger picture being painted here is of a fantastic sport that has been given a bit more of a spotlight. Really, it doesn’t matter if the format isn’t perfect – what matters is getting more people to know and love climbing.

Feature image by mike_fleming.

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