Lead Climbing Only For 2020 Olympic Bid

Austria's Johanna Ernst competing. Photo by Michael Schöpf

9/27/12 - The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has announced that its bid for climbing to enter the 2020 Olympic Games will focus exclusively on lead climbing. The IFSC will pursue neither bouldering nor speed climbing for the first Olympics with modern climbing.

The announcement was made at a press conference at the conclusion of the World Championships in Paris in mid-September. The IFSC also confirmed that two International Olympic Committee representatives had attended the finals of the World Championships.

The next major step for climbing's Olympic bid comes in December, when the IFSC will make a formal presentation to the IOC Program Commission in December. The IOC will make its final decision on new sports for the 2020 Games in September 2013.

Explaining its decision to focus on lead climbing, the IFSC said it was forced to make a choice because of "the existing limit in terms of athletes" in the Olympics.

Lead climbing, the IFSC said, "is the historical and traditional climbing discipline. It is the expression of climbing most commonly perceived by the public, and a popular event among climbers and non-climbers. Lead events have also the most universal representation, and is the discipline that a majority of our national federations indicated as their favorite...and TV experts pointed out they need the height challenge."

However, the IFSC added, "we do not exclude the fact that one day the three disciplines will be represented at the Olympic Games!"

Source: ifsc-climbing.org


Previous Comments


CLIMBERGIRL - 01/07/2013 1:53:13

Lead climbing? Yawn.

David - 11/28/2012 7:35:33

In all honesty it shouldnt really matter what climbing we all prefer. The fact is that the IFSC is actually recognising climbing as a sport worthy of the Olympics. This is a great moment for all climbers

Martin Grimley - 10/03/2012 5:36:54

Great to finally get the chance to compete in the most important sporting event of all. Lead climbing has some really impressive falls that the general public will find thrilling. Bouldering has no height and is less likely to be appreciated to those who don't know the sport. If we have to have only one choice..... lead climbing! Steve 10-2-12

Stephen E. Caton - 10/02/2012 5:46:49

They want to promote real climbing. Not training for real climbing.

Big Jim - 10/02/2012 9:30:09

OMG why lead?? lead is boringgg...

koziol - 10/01/2012 3:41:25

Boulder or lead doesn't matter for me. One thing that I will never understand is speed climb... To make lead climb more interesting IFSC could introduce a bit of exposure to the routes, who never got sweat hands wile watching a long run in a climb movie? That would be cool!!!

Bruno - 10/01/2012 5:24:15

This is great news

steve pearson - 09/30/2012 1:32:45

For me bouldering is the element of climbing most obviously suited to an audience. It is quick per competitor and can show more impressive feats of strength.

Neil - 09/29/2012 1:47:09

We should not delude ourselves into thinking that NBC will ever show an entire lead route. They edit everything down to a tight entertaining clip that the masses can understand and enjoy. I say if the IFSC supports the lead climbing discipline that will be our best shot at getting represented in 2020, so let put all the eggs in that basket!

Bryan - 09/28/2012 8:23:31

For me there's no comparing watching bouldering and lead, bouldering is soooo boring to watch...fun to do, but boring to watch.

Bruce - 09/28/2012 2:09:04

I actually really like watching Lead Climbing. The camera work I see could definitely be improved though. How about some really close up shots of hand work and foot work? I think the excitement of watching lead climbing is a lot like high jump or pole vaulting. The bar keeps getting raised higher, and you hold your breath to see if someone makes it. True, once a crux gets established the lead-up can be a little slow, but even then there are surprises! A good route setter won't make single move so hard that everyone gets stuck on the same move. I know that has happened in the history of the IFSC, but not often.

Andy - 09/28/2012 12:08:09

We should be pleased that climbing is being proposed for the Olympics, nevermind which type. The general public maybe see lead climbing as "proper" climbing and that's why it's being fronted.

Andy - 09/28/2012 11:00:13

The semi-final and the final of the mens lead climbing at the recent world championships were excellent examples of how lead climbing can be super exciting to watch. The route-setting was exceptional as there was not one crux that spat off almost all the climbers. Instead the climb seemed to get progessively harder so that the climbers really were split on ability and almost every climber fell from a different hold. Also, although Ondra managed to find some good rest spots, on the whole there seemed to be limited rests where any of the climbers opted to stay for any serious length of time. If you add to this more variety of tv angles and close-up and more sophisticated on-screen information (such as where the high point of the competition currently is) and you've got a really exciting event.

Nick - 09/28/2012 8:08:19

Deep Water Solo Climb! More intense and big splash when things go wrong!

Chris Usher - 09/28/2012 4:57:27

I certainly agree that bouldering would be the more exciting thing to watch, and would probably draw larger viewing crowds in general, but at the same time we are talking about the olympics. There are a lot of events that are short, powerful, and exciting, but there are also a ton of "boring" endurance races and long events that still get people to watch (read: long distance rowing, cycling, or running). I would say that watching someone sport climb hard for 5 minutes on a high, difficult route would be much more entertaining than any of those. But then again, I am a climber and that is what I find most interesting....

bailey - 09/28/2012 1:51:37

Even though I am a boulderer I think Sport can be more controlled for Olympics.

will - 09/27/2012 10:10:19

Bouldering is the only plastic climbing event worth watching. Hard to believe lead climbing is better on TV. I watched a few lead events and they are such a snooze fest.

doug - 09/27/2012 8:15:11

“is the historical and traditional climbing discipline" Is it Trad climbing? That I'd watch : Olympians trad climbing 14b? Sport on plastic.......ehhhh.

NC - 09/27/2012 7:57:38

Yeah, I don't know about the logistics of getting three events into the Olympics but maybe they could introduce it as some kind of climbing triathlon. The Olympic motto is ""Faster, Higher, Stronger" (Speed, Lead, Bouldering). But seriously I would probably rather see Lead over the triathlon and would most like to see Bouldering in it.

Matt - 09/27/2012 6:48:33

I agree Adam. I don't know what they're thinking. The only thing that will get climbing in the Olympics is the exciting aspects of it. Watching someone meticulously plod up a wall, shaking out for minutes on end every time they get a rest stance, isn't going to draw crowds.

Taylor - 09/27/2012 5:36:38

Does anyone else think that watching lead climbing is boring? Pretty sure that what people aren't going to identify with is spending 5 minutes watching every climber climb most of the moves of a lead route only to watch most of them fall at the crux. I believe more people would be inclined to watch if bouldering had been selected because the movements can be more gymnastic and the problems take less time to climb. Also bouldering would allow for much better camera work. If they want climbing to be a globally recognized spectator sport they need to have people doing hard heel hooking, hucking dynos, and generally doing things that look physically and technically difficult.

Adam - 09/27/2012 4:56:36