Oct 6, 2011

Why Climbing Should Not Be An Olympic Sport

There is a limited amount of attention and money in our sport. How do we want to spend it? Lately, it has been spent on a push for Olympic inclusion. The hope is to increase both by being picked for the Olympics. I disagree, the return on investment isn't worth it.

The Olympic label doesn't help fringe sports. Since climbing is a fringe sport, let's compare it to the other fringe sports of Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit. Olympic Weightlifting is an Olympic sport (arguably the most icon one) and CrossFit is not. Olympic Weightlifting is orders of magnitude less popular than CrossFit in the USA. You would hard pressed to find somewhere to Olympic lift, and on the other hand, you can't swing a kettlebell with hitting a CrossFit affiliate. Olympic Weightlifting has been picked by the Olympic committee, but dutifully following the committee's rules doesn't help its popularity. CrossFit makes no overtures to being picked. It is widely successful by building a community and creating its own infrastructure.

Climbing should do the same.