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Why climbing should be in the Olympics
August 21, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe


 
Gold medal winner? Nitro.
posted by davebush at 11:56 AM on August 21, 2012


Only after Tug of War is reinstated.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:06 PM on August 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


In comparison to the others cited in the article as possibilities (baseball, softball, karate, roller sports, squash, wakeboarding, wushu, and beach soccer), climbing certainly deserves to be, but squash would bring in more diverse participation (it's huge in Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia). And wow... Olympic roller derby would be pretty excellent as well.
posted by Etrigan at 12:18 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think there should be two factors to be kept in mind when deciding whether a sport should be an Olympic event. One, can you win by being or going "faster, higher, stronger" than your rivals? And two, would it be really, really helpful if by some remote chance one was transported back to the Thirty Years War?
posted by bebrogued at 12:19 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Darts. Now there is a sport. No other sport so deftly combines precision and focus, stamina, and drinking. If not darts, 10-ball. Fuck it, do both as some sort of biathalon. Run the whole thing out of the bar at the olympic villiage. Do it IOC, I may actually watch the olympics next time.

PS. You may want to consider replacing Air Rifle with Big Buck Hunter. Just a thought.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:19 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Because it's there?
posted by usonian at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a way it would be awesome, but in another way, given all the bullshit that surrounds the Olympics every time, it seems like a step down.

Also it would represent the final victory of singleminded gym-rat min-maxers over the laid-back dirtbag hippies that started the sport. Which would be too bad.
posted by echo target at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


They could also make athletes climb in their underwear and call it Beach Climbing.
posted by shothotbot at 12:22 PM on August 21, 2012 [23 favorites]


There's significant disagreement among climbers as to whether it's desirable for climbing to be in the Olympics. With popularity come all kinds of problems, not least of which are crowding, and access restrictions (e.g., cliffs being closed to climbing). I'm just slightly "against," but not strongly enough to make a fuss, really.

"The competition doesn't rely on contrived rules or subjective judging: the person who gets to the top wins." Patently untrue. Look at one informed observer's attempt at summarizing the World Cup Bouldering scoring system. Major competitions have been decided on lame technicalities, and it's at least as hard to know who's winning without someone running the scores for you as is gymnastics.

Plus, watching climbing competition is boring. I LOVE climbing, and I find it hard to watch even the highlights of competition climbing. I can't imagine a mainstream audience finding it any more engaging than any number of other "niche" sports. I just don't think it's going to be interesting to the IOC (read: profitable w/r/t sponsorships) or Olympic viewers.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:22 PM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Plus, watching climbing competition is boring. I LOVE climbing, and I find it hard to watch even the highlights of competition climbing. I can't imagine a mainstream audience finding it any more engaging than any number of other "niche" sports.

You know, I'd be inclined to agree with you, but I simultaneously love running and can't think of anything more mind-numbingly boring than watching someone else pitter-patter forward as fast as they can in a straight line. And yet people seem to watch it, so I'd guess climbing would find an audience, too.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:29 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sportclimbers in the Olympics might bring Tami Knight back to cartooning...
posted by anthill at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there a clock involved?

Because if they are racing to the the top, then that could be pretty interesting to watch.

Oh, and they should get rid of that belay line (belay that belay), that would make it really interesting to watch.
posted by Relay at 12:41 PM on August 21, 2012


Bowling isn't in the Olympics. Cricket isn't in the olympics. Baseball isn't in the Olympics.

Dressage is in the Olympics.
posted by JHarris at 1:04 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mounted archery should be in the Olympics. Archery is mostly ignored, and several equestrian events are routinely ridiculed, but mounted archery would kick ass. Create a course with several targets- forward and lateral- have some static and some moving. You could do a straight run, as well as a sort of steeplechase event.

It's a sport that the Mongolians, Koreans, and Japanese could dominate (other than wrestling and judo).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:15 PM on August 21, 2012 [16 favorites]


Relay: "Is there a clock involved?

Because if they are racing to the the top, then that could be pretty interesting to watch.

Oh, and they should get rid of that belay line (belay that belay), that would make it really interesting to watch.
"

Actually, speed climbing is a discipline in the World Cup and other competitions. It is not very interesting.
posted by that's candlepin at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2012


I'd probably watch the timed 1000 meter descent event.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:21 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've watched a couple of big bouldering competitions recently (in Vail & Chamonix) that were livestreamed by the IFSC, and they were really exciting.
I think, by trial and error over the last 20 years they've figured out a formula that makes climbing a fun thing to watch, even for people who aren't fanatical or who don't really know what's gong on even. I'd guess it's stuff like quick changeovers; routes that don't have a single 'stopper' move so everybody falls at the same hold; having 2 or more people doing different problems at once - or both competing on identical problems, and also better scoring with some emphasis on speed so somebody doesn't find a rest and camp out on the wall for half an hour.
posted by Flashman at 1:33 PM on August 21, 2012


Look, the Olympics long ago ceased to be about sport; it's about entertainment, period - especially in America and many of the other so-called "developed countries" that sponsor that clown show.

Climbing? I can see the gold medal winner already, post-Olympics, endorsing all manner of chic climbing gear, or heck, even making climbing shoes and outwear tres chic on the street.

All that said, climbing is a demanding sport; it's largely a solitary sport that requires some modicum of cooperation. Can you imagine the 100 meter climbing sprint? The 400 meter climbing relay? If climbing makes it to the Olympics, you will eventually see crap like this, accompanied by dozens more torturous, inane Bob Costas' (along with his co-armchair sport analysis puppets) interviews and stories about how this or that climber overcame this or that diversity to achieve this or that success (with the ultimate goal, of course, being endor$ement$). BORING!!

And climbers want climbing to be a part of this? What a load of BS!!. Right now, the people who are at the "administrative" top of various climbing organizations see $$$; they see themselves with all kinds of perks, headed for the next over-priced Olympic venue that will turn into a garbage heap, not long after the Olympics is over - much to the chagrin of the less fortunate who live adjacent to most of these pretentious venues.

Bottom line: don't ruin climbing by bringing it into the Olympics; same with all the other sports that have been dressed up for that clown show. Better yet, eliminate the Olympics, altogether! Just look at the fiasco of corrupt Olympic officials, who are little more than the equivalent of medieval Roman Catholic Inquisitors, as they take bribes, decide futures, and generally demean the spirit of sport. Fuck them! Yes, a special FUCK YOU to the entire Olympic Committee that has been bought out by Cheerios, BMW, and every other fuckwad sponsor that thinks people really are dumb enough to spend money on most of the stuff they make. Fuck the clown show "opening ceremonies", with their clown show dance routines and redneck fireworks displays.

Don't get me wrong; I love to see sporting competition; I'm a lifelong amateur athlete, always competing - if not with others, with myself. I believe that sport brings out the best in people, assuming onen is mentored in the principles of sport - i.e. humility in the face of the gifts one was born with; always wanting one's opponent to play her best, to bring out one's own best; always realizing that one's accomplishments are a result of a long chain of events that many others had a role in (Usain, are you listening?); always striving to to one's best; reveling in victory, but learning from defeat; and so on. These are the principles that the Olympics currently ignore. And climbing wants to be a part of it? Sad.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:39 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Darts? Darts is a game. You might as well have shove ha'penny.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2012


GallonOfAlan: "Darts? Darts is a game. You might as well have shove ha'penny."

Oh, and that's a bad miss....
posted by schmod at 1:54 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Er, wait. I got my references crossed there. Carry on.
posted by schmod at 1:55 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


(but apparently, there are some people fighting to put Snooker at the Olympics)
posted by schmod at 1:56 PM on August 21, 2012


Darts? Darts is a game.

Good job its called the Olympic Games and not the Olympic Sports then.
posted by biffa at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I LOVE climbing, and I find it hard to watch even the highlights of competition climbing.

I have not watched much competition climbing, but I reeeeeally want to see how the hell anyone (let alone the 11-year-old mentioned in the article) gets up a V13 when I'm struggling to do a V3.
posted by psoas at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2012


Call it a game or a sport but you cannot deny the intense physicality of standing at the oche and throwing a roughly 19 or 20 gram piece of machined tungsten 7" 9 1⁄4 ' at a spot smaller than a dime.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:09 PM on August 21, 2012


I like Largo's take on it.

"They could also make athletes climb in their underwear and call it Beach Climbing."

Be careful what you wish for. (NSFsomething or other)
posted by Manjusri at 2:20 PM on August 21, 2012


Call it a game or a sport but you cannot deny the intense physicality of standing at the oche and throwing a roughly 19 or 20 gram piece of machined tungsten 7" 9 1⁄4 ' at a spot smaller than a dime.

19 or 20 grams? Bah. 26 grams here, dude.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:24 PM on August 21, 2012


One, can you win by being or going "faster, higher, stronger" than your rivals?

My husband and I were attempting to categorize all the Olympic sports, because this is a thing we do. We got it mostly down to three major categories:

1. Citius, Altius, Fortius. The higher, faster, stronger stuff. This is all track and field, weightlifting, swimming, canoeing, BMX, cycling, triathlon, rowing, etc.

2. Baskehockerball. Any game where the winner is the one who puts an object in a net, goal, or basket. Basketball, hockey (ice and field), soccer (football), handball, water polo, etc.

3. Wallball. Any game where the object is to throw an object over a wall in such a way that your opponent can't throw it back. Volleyball (court and beach), badminton, tennis (table and court), etc.

Then that leaves archery, riflery, diving, gymnastics, dressage, and a bunch of other sports. It's tempting for me to say "Out with them!" but gymnastics at least has been part of the Olympics since the dawn of the Olympics way the hell back in Greece. Maybe we could have a fourth category called "Damn, motherfucker!" in which people do physical feats that make the spectators say "Daaamn, motherfucker! Did you see that?"
posted by KathrynT at 2:25 PM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


I consider myself a professional spectator who watches Cricket, Football, Football, Basketball, Baseball, Netball, Hockey, Rugby, and basically all the olympic sports.

What the hell is Wushu?
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 2:32 PM on August 21, 2012


What the hell is Wushu?

Wushu is a Chinese martial art.
posted by BeeDo at 2:42 PM on August 21, 2012


climbing shoes and outwear tres chic on the street.

Dude, I don't even wear my climbing shoes in between bouldering routes at the gym. Those suckers hurt. Speaking of, thanks to this thread, now I have to go feed my climbing addiction. Dangit, I was going to socialize tonight...
posted by nat at 3:11 PM on August 21, 2012


19 or 20 grams? Bah. 26 grams here, dude.

Well, obviously there would need to be weight classes.
posted by The Tensor at 3:18 PM on August 21, 2012


I think orienteering would make a great Olympic sport if they could figure out how to televise it well ... lots of speed, strategy, mud, crazy changes of fortune, thornbushes, the works!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:23 PM on August 21, 2012


Two sports I'd like to see in the Olympics are ultrarunning (24 hour or six day) and juggling.

Pretty much everyone else thinks I'm insane.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2012


If Dressage is in then there's no reason I can see for excluding Dog Agility.

I much prefer the game-like sports to the force-maximization sports. Not only is the opportunity for strategy much greater, but they aren't as vulnerable to substance abuse.

You can't fool us nat, you're just looking for an excuse to get high.
posted by JHarris at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2012


and juggling.

Pretty much everyone else thinks I'm insane.
Nope, You're not insane at all.
posted by smidgen at 3:56 PM on August 21, 2012


As long as squash isn't in the Olympics, nothing makes sense.
posted by Decani at 4:09 PM on August 21, 2012


Maybe we could have a fourth category called "Damn, motherfucker!" in which people do physical feats that make the spectators say "Daaamn, motherfucker! Did you see that?"

You mean the Oedipal category?
posted by ersatz at 5:17 PM on August 21, 2012


Archery is mostly ignored

Not on the BBC. It was awesome. It's one of the few sports where people who look like The Big Lebowski can be the best in the world.
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


What we really should do is have the athletes complete in all of the games, not just one game. It's really quite dumb because they over-specialize in one competition. If you do well in swimming, archery, judo, gymnastics, diving, marathon, then you deserve a gold medal, otherwise it's just a grotesque spectacle.
posted by rainy at 7:26 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you're gonna climb for the Olympics, you've gotta climb like this.
posted by revmitcz at 8:10 PM on August 21, 2012


Then that leaves archery, riflery, diving, gymnastics, dressage, and a bunch of other sports.

Some of these fall into a category called "Art" and involve judges forming opinions.

Other fall into an "Accuracy" category, some with a speed Or endurance component. Horseback archery is a brilliant variant.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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