Sport Climbing Now An Olympic Event!

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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.

Kraig Becker

12 thoughts on “Sport Climbing Now An Olympic Event!”

  1. I think that it is great for the gym climbing part of the sport. There may be a few more people show up at easy to get to crags, but as far as real climbing goes, it won't change to much.

  2. Agreed. The age old Sport vs. Trad rivalry. 🙂 As long as both can coexist, it's all good! 🙂

  3. As a climber and someone who enjoys watching climbing, I think this is great. However, I think the Olympics (both the summer and winter games) need to be pared down. There are lots of sports out there that require power, endurance, skill, etc., but not all of them need to be in the Olympics.

    Then again, if table tennis and curling are in, then I suppose climbing should be as well.

  4. Hey guys,

    Thanks for the mention! Just one clarification – sport climbing isn't an Olympic event, at least not yet. What the IOC did was recognize the International Federation of Sport Climbing, which is the first step toward inclusion in the Olympics. Still, we won't have a final decision on whether or not it will be accepted as an event until 2013.

    Thanks so much for reading!


  5. IMO, one of the appealing things about climbing is its non-competitive nature and that it exists outside the media hype.

  6. I agree Jeff. It's you against the wall, testing your own skills. I don't like to rush up it either. 🙂

  7. I like the non-competitive part of climbing also, but I also enjoy watching sport and bouldering comps (those guys and gals are really good)

  8. This rocks. I'm a trad climber myself… and this sprot is one of the toughest sports to master…that being said, it should be in the olympics…however, I'm a bit bummed as the popularity is going to rise and now I will have to get up even earlier to be first on routes…

  9. No worries Ryan. A lot of people will try it because they'll think it looks easier than it really is. Much like when I was studying martial arts for years. So many people would come and go because they thought it would be easier than it turned out to be.

  10. Just a clarification – sport climbing is not an Olympic sport, at least not yet. What the IOC did was to recognize the International Federation of Sport Climbing, which is the first step towards inclusion in the Olympics.

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