Sport climbing to debut at 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Sports

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) — The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games are just over a month away, and a new event, sport climbing will be making its debut.

22News spoke with climbing experts at Central Rock Gym in Hadley on Sunday, about what the Olympic stage means for the sport.

“Super exciting. As a passionate climber myself, it’s so awesome to get more people introduced to the sport, and seeing how amazing these athletes actually are,” Jane Clark, the youth program coordinator at the gym told 22News.

According to the International Federation of Sports Climbing, there will be 40 athletes participating in the games this year, half women and half men.

The event includes three disciplines; speed, bouldering and lead.

  • Speed: During the speed discipline, two climbers race up identical routes on a 15m wall. They compete to get to the top of the wall in the shortest amount of time.
  • Bouldering: The competitors attempt to climb as many routes as they can in four minutes. This discipline is done without safety ropes. Climbers are not allowed to practice the routes in advance.
  • Lead: The competitors attempt to climb as high as they can within a six-minute time frame. If more than one athlete reaches the top of the wall within the allotted time, whoever did so the faster receives the better score.

Competitors receive a score in each category. The three scores are then combined to produce an overall score. The athletes with the lowest scores rank the highest.

Ezekiel Douglas-Rosenthal is a competitive climber who also coaches the non-competitive youth team. He told 22News that he’s drawn to the sport because of the skills it incorporates.

“It combines both using your mind and your body to sort of solve problems so that it’s not just chest or not just weight lifting. It’s both,” Douglas-Rosenthal said.

The staff at the Central Rock said that kids as young as three have started climbing at the gym, all ages and skill levels are welcome.

The 2021 Olympics are set to begin July 23.

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