Climbing at Olympics—Sort Of

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UIAA Climbing will organize bouldering and speed-climbing demonstrations in Bardonecchia, Italy, during the 2006 Winter Olympics. Thirty-five top climbers from around the world, including Americans Emily Harrington and Vadim Vinokur and Canadian Mike Doyle, have been invited to participate.

Reindert Lenselink, secretary general of UIAA Climbing, said bouldering and speed demonstrations would be offered each evening during the Olympics, as well as a “climbing festival for kids from the region.” Lenselink stressed that these events will not be competitions, because no non-Olympic competition is allowed in the region during the Winter Games. However, the UIAA hopes the events will raise climbing’s visibility and will help with future efforts to include the sport in the Olympic Games.

Bardonecchia, about 50 miles from Torino, Italy, will host Olympic snowboarding events, and Lenselink hopes some top snowboarders can be convinced to climb in the demonstrations. The small town is also the birthplace of modern sport climbing competitions, as the first Sport Roccia comp was held there in 1985; this event evolved into the famed Arco Rock Master, still held every year.Comment on this story