Climbing and the Olympics

Posted by Tina Gardner on 15/03/2013
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Climbing has a good chance of becoming an Olympic sport. It is currently on the shortlist for possible inclusion in the 2020 Olympics and is competing with seven other sports to get to the Games.

 

Update: Climbing's Olympic dream is on hold. Unfortunately Sport climbing has failed to reach the final shortlist of sports being considered for the 2020 Olympics. 

The eight sports under consideration are baseball/softball, squash, karate, wakeboarding, wushu, sport climbing, roller sports and wrestling.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide in September 2013 which of these sports will be added to the Olympic programme to bring the total number of sports to 28. However, it is thought the shortlist will be further reduced to just three sports following presentations to the IOC Executive Board at the end of May.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) is the force behind the bid to get climbing into the Olympics and the BMC is backing the bid.

Three different climbing disciplines – lead, speed and bouldering – are contested at international competitions. The IFSC is proposing a combination event – a triathlon of lead, speed and bouldering – for consideration for Olympic status.

There have been connections between climbing and the Olympics for many years. Olympic gold medals from the 1924 Winter Olympics were awarded to members of the 1922 Everest expedition. First ascensionists of the Eiger North Face also received Olympic medals in 1938.

The BMC held the World Cup Event in Leeds 23 years ago which was won by our own Jerry Moffat. Fellow Briton Simon Nadin went on to win the World Cup Series in 1989. Our climbers have continued to compete worldwide and in recent years have had notable success.

It is generally considered that the Austrians, Chinese and French currently lead the way in terms of competition climbing. However, female British climbers are climbing their way up the podium places. Shauna Coxsey is ranked third in the world in the senior female bouldering ranks, and Molly Thompson-Smith is ranked third in the world in the female youth B category.

British climber Fran Brown is currently the Paraclimbing World Champion. However, the case for climbing to become a paralympic sport is a totally separate application process, albeit a shorter one. So if climbing reaches the 2020 Olympics it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see it at the 2020 Paralympics.

Olympic bid timeline

September 2009: BMC National Council agreed to support the idea of climbing becoming an Olympic sport following consultation amongst the BMC Areas. This support is based on competitions taking place on artificial structures only.  The BMC retained its membership of the IFSC and the UIAA, both of which organisations include the objective of getting climbing into the Olympics in their statutes.

June 2011: IOC confirms the 7 sports shortlisted for the 2020 Olympics which includes sport climbing.

September 2012: Two observers from the IOC attend the final of the Climbing World Championships in Paris. Marco Scolaris (President of the IFSC) announced that IFSC propose the discipline of “Lead” for both men and women for the 2020 Olympic Games.

December 2012: IFSC delegates present sport climbing to the IOC programme commission for consideration for the 2020 games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

February 2012: Wrestling dropped from the Olympic programme from 2020 to make way for a new sport. It joins the 7 other shortlisted sports for possible inclusion.

March 2012: at the IFSC Plenary Assembly in Shanghai on 9 March, IFSC President Marco Scolaris announced that a multi-discipline format – combining speed, lead and bouldering – will be put forward at the presentations in May, on the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Technical Commission

The future:

May 2013: The eight shortlisted sports are scheduled to make presentations to the Executive Board at its meeting in St Petersburg, Russia. The Executive Board will select which of the eight sports to recommend to the 125th IOC Session for inclusion as an additional sport on the 2020 programme.

September 2013: After hearing the Executive Boards and Programme Commissions recommendation, the IOC will conduct a silent ballot at the 125th Plenary Assembly of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This will decide the 28 sports to be included in the 2020 games. The host city for the 2020 Olympic Games will also be announced at this time.

So all eyes will be on the IOC Executive Board at the end of May to see whether they keep climbing in the running.

How to show your support for the bid

You can show your support for the bid by liking IFSC’s 2020 Olympics Facebook page www.facebook.com/SportClimbing2020.

Twitter: when tweeting about climbing's Olympic bid please use hash tag #climbing2020

Find out more about the GB climbing team.



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