/ VIDEO: Adam Ondra: Success and Disaster

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UKC News 10 Sep 2019
Adam Ondra: The Road to Tokyo: Success and Disaster The World Championships in Hachioji took place last month and it was the first opportunity that climbers had to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Undoubtedly, the biggest shock of the competition came in the men's combined qualification: Adam Ondra appeared to stand on a bolt. This meant that his Lead score was reduced to 10 and he was miles short of an Olympic qualification slot. 

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masa-alpin 10 Sep 2019

There's a simple and ultimate solution. Legalise to stand on anything protruding from the wall except in-situ quickdraws. In other words, to stand on a bolt is perfectly legal as a rule, IF there is a bolt protruding from the wall (and, if a competitor gets injured due to a slip after standing on a bolt, the *organiser* must take a full responsibility and compensate for it, be it millions of pounds or whatever). That means the route should be set so that there is no bolts protruding a milli-metre from the wall – each bolt should be installed either behind the wall or in a covering resin structure, on which competitors can freely stand or may be practically obliged to stand in order to complete the route. Then, only the things that protrude from the wall or resin would be slings (and krabs at the rope end). It would be definitly possible as a design, except it is likely to be significantly more expensive than the current design in which many bolts ominously protrude from the wall. As far as the Olympic sport is concerned (bar fun competitions in local climbing walls), little additional cost shouldn't be a problem, should it?

I am terrybly sorry for the disaster and disappointment Adam Ondra AND any spectotors have experienced.  That's not his fault, but I take it as a flaw in the rule (and design of the wall).

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HansStuttgart 10 Sep 2019
In reply to masa-alpin:

If you are going with investments on the walls:

make the slings reasonably slippery. make slits in the wall so that the slings disappear through the slits and connect to bolts behind the wall. allow contact between feet and slings.

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tom_in_edinburgh 10 Sep 2019
In reply to masa-alpin:

> There's a simple and ultimate solution.

Don't stand on bolt hangers.  They are out.  Simple.

Every kid that does climbing competitions knows this.  Everyone who judges climbing competitions knows this.  Sometimes people unintentionally step on a bolt hanger or on a wrong-coloured hold and if the judge sees it clearly enough to be certain they get pulled off.

There's always an element of luck in climbing and particularly lead climbing competitions and the two qualifier plus final system is actually designed to increase the luck element by making it all depend on the final route so it is more exciting.

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john arran 10 Sep 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I agree with much of that except the bit at the end. The twin qualifier plus final originally was a single qualifier plus final, so both qualifier and final were completely critical, but the second qualifier was added so as to reduce the chance of a single bad performance ruining someone's chances. It was first introduced in youth competitions as it was a very long way for many to travel to climb on just one route.

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snoop6060 10 Sep 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Best climber in world (which hardly anyone would argue against) wins the lead world champs 2019. Had won both lead and bouldering world cups previously. Climbed the hardest route in the world. Trained specially for the  Olympics for a long time. 

Doesn't make it because of a technicality

Olympic climbing really does sound weird.  

Hopefully he does make it tho. 

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Michael Gordon 10 Sep 2019
In reply to snoop6060:

That's the trouble with competition climbing and the luck element which inevitably comes into it. It would be the same if Bolt at the height of his powers failed to qualify due to false starts.

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Dale Turrell 11 Sep 2019
In reply to snoop6060:

In ANY sporting competition you can fall foul of a technicality.  If he had accidentally stood on a bolt on an otherwise successful ascent of Silence it wouldn't have "counted" either, so it's hardly a weird thing about "olympic" climbing.  And he still has a coupe of chances to qualify.

Post edited at 09:38
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Philoosh 12 Sep 2019
In reply to UKC News:

I saw the photos and the common opinion among most was that he didn't. They thought they saw a shadow etc... So he is peter pan now?

Will we be introducing VAR into our climbing competitions now? Or should the route setters do a better job of not putting a route so that the possibility is there! Remember the Adidas advertisement sign that had to be taken down because all the climbers were using it? Maybe the setters need to think that this is a very real possibility and either direct the route accordingly or put a hold above a clip so it cant be stood on? Blame the organisers, not the climbers....

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tjdodd 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Agreed, although I think an even better analogy would be Bolt's foot touching the lane line.  Another example would be a long jumper encroaching a mm on the plasticine.

On the many discussions on this topic on UKC those saying the decision was wrong at least imply the issue is specific to climbing.  It is not, all competition sports have rules and many of these are incredibly subtle in terms of doing something wrong.  They rules are there to ensure a fair playing field at the highest level of the sport and where incredibly small advantages can have a big influence on the outcome.  Unfortunately in some cases athletes fall foul of the rules by mistake but these are rare occasions.  Overall the fairness of the competition from rigorously applied rules far outweighs the very small number of unfortunate cases like Ondra.

Similarly, the qualification stages in many Olympic sports are quite bizarre to outsiders and can lead to the world's best not making it.  The multiple possible qualification stages in climbing at least mitigates one off problems and gives the top climbers another go (unlike in some sport's qualifications which are very much do or die).

In many respects Ondra has put himself in a difficult position by making the decision to ignore speed climbing.  He clearly miscalculated the importance of speed climbing to his qualification and probably for the final event as well.  He was very clear in one of his early Youtube videos on the road to the Olympics that he was deliberately not going to train for speed.  If he does not make it eventually it will be this decision that is to blame in my view and not a one off mistake in touching a bolt.

Of course, none of this detracts from the fact he is probably the world's best (overall) climber today.  It is just competition sport is different.  There are a number of sports where the Olympics is not the pinnacle of the sport or for which the winner would be judged the best in the world (windsurfing is an example I know very well).  But I would also not detract from the exceptional climbers that will be at the top in the Olympics.

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tom_in_edinburgh 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Philoosh:

> I saw the photos and the common opinion among most was that he didn't. They thought they saw a shadow etc... So he is peter pan now?

The specific problem here isn't the bolt hanger rule it's that the selection system could mean that one of the most outstanding competitors could miss out on the Olympics due to a fluke event.   There's too much weight getting given to one particular competition rather than track record across the whole IFSC world cup series.   The way to address it is by tweaking the Olympic selection criteria.

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Philoosh 15:35 Fri
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Either way you look at it, something is very wrong....

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john arran 18:05 Fri
In reply to Philoosh:

> Either way you look at it, something is very wrong....

Really?

Ondra was marked down by a pretty rare occurrence that almost all other competitors have managed to avoid during their entire competitive careers. And yet he still has another chance to qualify because the qualification system is flexible enough so that any such freak occurrence won't necessarily ruin the chance of any particular climber from qualifying.

That sounds to me like the qualification process is actually proving effective in making sure the very best are represented in Tokyo.

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aln 18:47 Fri
In reply to UKC News:

He touched a bolt. Touching a bolt isn't allowed. Accept and move on.

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