Climbing as an Olympic sport?

A conversation with adventurer extraordinaire John Long

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In part one
of my series of free-ranging conversations with adventurer
extraordinaire John Long, we discussed free soloing—the amazing form of
climbing that doesn’t involve ropes, and that Largo (as Long is also
known) himself helped to popularize as a teenager climbing in California
in the early 1970s.  Now, with the Games of the XXX Olympiad
well-underway in London, I thought I’d take up for our second chat the
question: Should climbing be an Olympic sport?

Three years ago, the International Olympic Committee granted the
International Federation of Sport Climbing provisional recognition. In
February 2010, the IOC formally recognized the
IFSC, which means that climbing is now eligible to compete with other
sports to be included in the Olympics. We will know climbing’s chances
of scaling Mount Olympus next year, when the sports for the 2020 games
will be decided. Some believe that Olympic inclusion would be a great
shot in the arm for climbing, while others maintain it would cost the sport its soul. I wanted to know what Largo thought, so I asked him.

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