Competitive climbers hope the sport makes Olympic grade

Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:07am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American rock-climbing wizard Alex Honnold insists he would not compete in the Olympics even if his sport gets the nod for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

It is not that Honnold does not care for the Olympics or does not like to compete. The man widely considered the best free climber of his generation says he just is not good enough.

"The real reason I wouldn't compete in the Olympics is just because I wouldn't even be able to qualify," the 30-year-old Honnold told Reuters, the day before a climb in the Patagonia region of Chile. "Competitive climbing is basically a whole different sub-sport."

"I'm more of an adventurer: lots of travel, lots of new routes outdoors, not so much training inside. I can't climb at nearly the level required for competition."

While Honnold enjoys scaling the famed El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park or tackling Borneo's formidable Mount Kinabalu, he says a timed ascent of a manmade mountain does not interest him.

Sport climbing is one of five sports recommended for inclusion in the Olympics by organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball and karate. Under new rules, Olympic host cities can pick sports for possible inclusion at the Games in addition to the existing 28 core sports.

The International Olympic Committee must approve the addition of sport climbing and the other recommended sports.

Competitive climbing, of which sport climbing is one of the disciplines, secured a foothold in Europe in the early 1980s and then gained traction in the United States a decade later. Now, it is gaining a following in other parts of the world.   Continued...