Will Climbing Become a New Olympic Sport?

At the World Championships in Paris, the International Federation of Sport Climbing unveiled details of their request for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, proposing that lead climbing, as the “historical and traditional climbing discipline,” should be accepted as a new sport in the games.


From an industry standpoint, it could bring the sport into the mainstream, meaning a jump in participation and financial contributions to the many different climbing-related businesses, from guide services to climbing gyms to gear companies.

James Lucas, my homie and a climbing badass, notes: “The style of climbing that will be in the Olympics – lead climbing on artificial walls – relates to a small percentage of climbers. Trad climbers, boulderers, alpinists, will never see any money. It will be lucrative for a tiny subset of climbers.”

He adds, however, that at least “it’d be cooler to watch than rollerblading.” Seriously – if the debate for climbing is about viewership, they should definitely consider speed climbing.

What’s your take – should climbing join the tradition of Olympic sports?

By Bryan Schatz

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