Medal Counts- Climb!

In case you missed the news back in February, France's Olympic committee has confirmed that they have submitted a proposal to double the medals awarded for climbing at the 2024 Olympics by separating speed from sport and bouldering. This means no more combined events, but rather one set of medals for speed, and one set of medals for sport and bouldering.

Thank God.

The only place further than this
for a speed competitor is big wall
Each discipline deserves to stand on its own thus showcasing the best that each can produce. My worry about the 2020 Olympics is that the forced multidiscipline structure will produce only good, not great, entertainment.

The best bouldering and sport climbers will not be able to wow on the speed wall like a speed specialist can.

Speed specialists have spent their careers training the exact opposite energy system and intensity that make sport climbers so good, fluid, and enjoyable to watch.

Splitting up the formats is in the best interest of the athletes and their events, but it also will, I believe, allow speed climbing to rise from the shadow of bouldering and sport to stand on its own.

When it comes to the Olympics, let's not beat around the bush. Money is king and viewer ratings drive advertising rates. What events routinely get the highest ratings? It's not just Usain Bolt that charges to the front of the Nielson Ratings. The speed/power events (gymnastics events, the sprints, jumps, and relays in athletics, and short swimming/relays) all traditionally sport higher ratings than the longer events, such as the marathon/race walk and longer swim events.

Without playing into the stereotypes of the typical American attention span, it's easy to see why speed climbing stands the best shot at becoming the most viewed of the different climbing disciplines.

  1. Speed climbing's top competitors complete the route in enough time to play the entirety of a heat in a news clip while leaving time for other events to be covered as well. 
  2. It is easily packaged and digestible to the public that may not know that much about climbing. 
  3. The winner is determined immediately. Celebrations don't need to wait for scores or grades.
  4. It's a type of athleticism that is easily understandable to the general public.
With that in mind, the next two Olympics have the possibility of creating a brand new craze for speed climbing. Second list incoming:
  • More public awareness and support leads to more viewers. 
  • More viewers equals more advertising revenue. 
  • More revenue equals more reasons for networks to want to show the sport. 
  • More time on TV leads to bigger sponsor paychecks for the athletes. 
  • More money for athletes equals more athletes trying out the sport to see if they can be successful and have a career.
  • More athletes means deeper talent pool and better competition, keeping audiences captive.
Speed climbing deserves to stand on its own and it is positioned well to do just that. 

Looking to get started into speed climbing? Take a look through the beginner tags and get familiar with the training needed to make yourself the fastest you can be!

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