Climbing going for gold

Posted by Peter Burnside on 04/08/2016
An ecstatic Shauna Coxsey takes gold in Munich at the 2015 IFSC Bouldering World Cup. Photo: Liam Lonsdale

Today marks a historic day for climbing after it was officially declared a new Olympic sport by the International Olympic Committee in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Climbing will now be added to the roster for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and GB Climbing Team athletes will be gearing up to vie for the honour of representing Britain at this prestigious event.

This announcement is the much-anticipated culmination of a concerted campaign for Olympic inclusion headed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) and backed by a host of organisations, including the BMC and Mountaineering Scotland.

The IFSC said the declaration was the result of a “long, hard climb” to see it recognised.

While it’s a triumph for all involved, it’s not surprising that Sport Climbing (or competition climbing as it’s more usually known in the UK) has been accepted into the fold as an official Olympic sport since it perfectly embodies the Olympic motto ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ proposed by Pierre de Coubertin when the modern Olympics were first created in 1894.

Nick Colton, BMC Deputy Chief Officer, said: “Climbing also represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games; it brings the missing vertical dimension to the world’s most prestigious sporting event.”

WATCH: Climb 2020: The Olympic opportunity on BMC TV

And now, British climbers will form part of the 20 male and 20 female athletes from around the globe who will each need to compete in three specific disciplines of climbing: Lead, Speed and Bouldering. This creates a more unusual challenge for Team GB as our athletes often specialise in a certain discipline in order to excel in it.

But with years to prepare, we may even see BMC ambassador Shauna Coxsey, MBE – the reigning IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion – return to Lead Climbing and train up in Speed Climbing in order to represent Team GB in the Olympics.

Meanwhile, hot on Shauna’s heels are a huge number of exceptional climbers, junior and senior, who will all be eyeing up the chance to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Rob Adie, Climbing Walls and Competitions Officer at the BMC, is confident the British team will be well in contention for medals in four years’ time.

He said: “The GB junior climbers are incredibly dedicated team and are training hard and doing incredibly well in Europe at the moment with regular top 10 finishes from both the girls and boys in most age categories.

“These guys will be our future potential Olympians and it's great to see them doing so well at such a young age. We will be sending a very strong team to the World Championships in China in November so we have high hopes for some good results there, too.”

WATCH: Shauna cruise to the top at CWIF 2016 on BMC TV

Climbing was approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of a package of five sports, where all were selected for their key focus on youth, which is at the heart of the Games vision for Tokyo 2020.

The IFSC will now begin work on the technical aspects of the Olympic Climbing event. The selection process will be drafted and presented on March 17, 2017, at the IFSC Plenary Assembly in Quebec City, Canada.

The IFSC President Marco Scolaris said: “We are so happy that Sport Climbing will be participating in the Games of Tokyo.

“We have reached the final hold of our unbelievable climb, but another climb awaits us. Our team is committed to preparing Sport Climbing for the Olympic Games, and over the next four years we will continue to work with the IOC to do so.”

Read more: Climbing and the Olympics: Q&A


 

The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Berghausand the Arch Climbing Walland the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Birchall Blackburn Law. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.

Get live updates about the GB Climbing Team from @BMC_Comps on Twitter

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WATCH: Shauna Coxsey: This Girl Can Win on BMC TV


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7
1) Anonymous User
03/08/2016
Oh what a surprise! The BMC is renamed/rebranded funded by Sport England cash and we hear this. After a 9 month consultancy when no one outside of the upper senior members of the BMC seamed to know about.Come on BMC, admit this was the ambition all along. Why not have a separate branch along side the BMC to look after competition climbing. I don't object to competition climbing at all, but keep it separate from the needs of the recreational walkers and climbers and all the other mountain enthusiasts.
2) Anonymous User
04/08/2016
I haven't climbed for years and I mainly walk now, but my young lad (7) is just starting to show interest. Personally i think climbing in the olympics is a natural and exciting development thats bound to inspire the next generation. You can't fight change and i think the BMC/Climb Britain or whatever you are now are doing just the right thing by evolving. Keep up the good work everyone. Jez.
05/08/2016
Medals were awarded for Alpinism in the 1920s Olympic games - so not so new really. Plus that was real climbing outdoors none of this ersatz indoor stuff.
4) Anonymous User
06/08/2016
so, all three disciplines...

we're also making gymnasts do floor, rings and the 100m sprint.

the disciplines are so specific that youre gonna have some really contrived results.
5) Anonymous User
08/08/2016
Shauna will be 37 in 2020, not old, but too old for an Olympics focusing on "youth".
6) Anonymous User
11/09/2016
I think it is amazing cause a new sport will bring champions to the front podium. So cheers and may the best candidate win.
:)
28/07/2017
This was so exciting! I wish I could have been in Brazil to actually enjoy their excitement.

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