/ ARTICLE: Road to Tokyo: Sport Climbing & Karate at the 2020 Olympics
Perhaps unexpectedly, these sports share some common internal conflicts, which have been brought to the fore in light of the Games. Tradition vs modernity, art vs sport, regulation vs freedom - the parallels between climbing and karate become clear. Chuck Norris and the Karate Kid aside, Natalie Berry examines the rocky road to Tokyo with input and insight from experts in both disciplines.
It's really disappointing that speed climbing is included.
Interesting idea from Andrew Bisharat about using AI to build objectively fair routes. I might have a go at that.
It is extremely popular in other parts of the world, so in principle including speed is fair enough.
The real idiocy is the combined format, rather than having three separate events. The IOC typically puts a limit on medals it wants to award in a demonstration discipline (hence the reduced number of weight classes in womens' boxing), which could always be expanded when the sport becomes fully olympic.
I assume they want to have a single climbing event for the same reasons, but in this case I would have preferred a pure bouldering contest, as this is usually much more exciting than lead.
I also liked that idea, I imagine there would be a good chunk of programming in the background and its still susceptible to human bias but it would be a very interesting project.
There is no such thing as a demonstration discipline. Climbing is in the Games for 2020 and the medals are real - demonstration events stopped back in Lillehammer (I think).
We might be in 2024 either as a full sport or in the same way we are in 2020.
When it came to picking which disciplines would be in Tokyo the IOC said that the IFSC could choose 1,2 or 3 disciplines but if the IFSC said 1 or 2 then the IOC would pick the disciplines and guess what they would have picked. 1 discipline = speed, 2 disciplines = speed + ??
So guess why the IFSC asked for 3 disciplines. Oh and the IOC rules said only existing disciplines count so we could invent a new one or use something like the Arco Duel.
It was pointed out to me today that another sport sharing this 'setter bias' is slalom skiing, which has apparently had course setting bias throughout its history with individual coaches setting WC competition runs to suit their best skiers.
Presumably slalom kayaking too.
Great article by the way Natalie.
> > The real idiocy is the combined format, rather than having three separate events.
> in this case I would have preferred a pure bouldering contest, as this is usually much more exciting than lead.
In a way I can understand some appeal of a combined format, as the climber who came nearest to top for lead and bouldering combined would justifiably be seen by most as the best (competition) climber in the world. But effectively adding in how fast they can also climb up a ladder muddies the waters as few would view this as a serious test of climbing ability.
Fair enough, I stand corrected, but even if climbing is a full olympic sport right away, there is a tendency to start with fewer disciplines and expand later (see womens' boxing, ski jumping, or snowboarding).
> Fair enough, I stand corrected, but even if climbing is a full olympic sport right away, there is a tendency to start with fewer disciplines and expand later (see womens' boxing, ski jumping, or snowboarding).
Indeed, the usual mantra is to get a foot in the door and then become more established. Note also that there is a limit of 310 medal events in the olympics, and 10,500 athletes, so for climbing to go from 2 medal events as in 2020 to 6 if each of the current events gets its own, then a different sport will have to sacrifice events.
Great article Natalie. I suppose this highlights how competition climbing is becoming more departed from real climbing when Ondra has his doubts about it. I think a lot of us are not interested in the slightest but I hope it works out ok for everyone at the end.
Indeed. The stats from the ABC pointing towards indoor climbing as a discipline in its own right were pretty striking too. I admit that I find the triple format interesting and know how addictive improving at the speed climbing route can be, but individual discipline medals would be the dream. I've just found a document about the selection process that appears to have been leaked somehow. Once the IFSC announce it officially I'll update the piece...
The selection process is in a document for the agenda for the forthcoming IFSC Plenary Assembly (Saturday 17th March) where it will be voted on.
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