We’ve been hearing rumblings about this for sometime, but now it’s official. According to this story from Matador Sports, the International Olympic Committee has accepted sport climbing as an event, which makes it eligible to be included in the 2020 Summer Games.
As the article points out, sport climbing has been growing in popularity across the globe, not just as by those looking to climb, but also as a spectator sport. It has a great following in Europe already, with televised events and solid media coverage. Here in the States, bouldering has begun to get similar attention as well, although it is far from a mainstream attraction. Of course, the sport has ten more years to build on its growing popularity before it appears on an Olympic schedule, so we’ll see how it falls on the cultural landscape in a decade.
Personally, I think climbers are superb athletes, and I enjoy watching them scale a wall, but I think the nuances and challenges will likely remain lost on typical television viewer. Still, I think it’s very cool that they have added it to the Olympics, and I know I’d tune in to watch. What are your thoughts on the subject? Is this good for the sport? I’m sure a lot of traditional climbing purists will not appreciate the move, but I suspect it’ll be rather popular with the community as a whole.
Update: Slight clarification on this story. The IOC is giving recognition to the International Federation of Sport Climbing, which has three years to convince them that climbing should be included in 2020. There will be a final decision in 2013 about the sports inclusion in the 2020 games. This is the first initial step to that happening though, and still a big deal for the sport.
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