Climbing Considered for 2020 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board (EB) have announced that Sport Climbing is one of a handful of sports to be considered for the 2020 Olympics.

A report on the website states:

"The EB agreed on a shortlist of sports that will be considered for inclusion in the sports programme of the 2020 Olympiad. The sports are: baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu, one of which could be added to the 2020 sports programme to be voted on by the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires in 2013."

French climber Alizée Dufraisse competing in the women's finals at Arco 2010. , 191 kb
The permanent outdoor competition wall at Arco in Italy. Arco is a town where climbing competitions have happened for several decades, and is thought of as the birth place of competition climbing. Photo: Jack Geldard

Robyn Erbesfield - First British indoor international competition at Leeds - 1989, 91 kb
Competition climbing has come a long way since Robyn Erbesfield competed in the first British indoor international competition at Leeds - 1989. Photo: © craig h
According to a report on, 12 sports were initially considered and only the eight mentioned above were retained. "Surfing, dancing, bowling and netball missed out."

Some of the sports on the list, such as baseball and softball, were dropped from the Olympics in 2008 and are making a bid to get back in to the event. However this is the first time that Sport Climbing is being considered as an addition.

The final decision on the current list of eight candidates, where one sport will be chosen for the 2020 games, will take place when the EB meets in Buenos Aires in late 2013.

Although some climbers in the UK have mixed feelings on climbing being in the Olympics, back in 2009 the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) made the decision to support the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) in their Olympic quest - as now stated in the BMC Competitions Terms of Reference document:

The role of the Competitions Committee is to formulate policies and advise the National Council upon all aspects of competition climbing. The Competitions Committee will be responsible for the following:

  • Oversee the development of competition climbing in Britain.
  • Be responsible for the organisation and promotion of the various British Climbing Championships, including setting the rules.
  • Support international competitions held under IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) rules in Britain.
  • Select and organise a GB team to compete in international events and assist in making the necessary travel and accommodation arrangements in accordance with the BMC's policies and procedures, taking particular note of the BMC Child Protection Policy, when team members are under the age of 18.
  • Oversee the development of training programmes for competition climbers and coaches.
  • Run training and assessment schemes for competition officials.
  • Support the IFSC in its bid to establish Climbing on the Olympic Programme.

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