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Tuesday, August 14,2012

Climbing as an Olympic sport?

A conversation with adventurer extraordinaire John Long

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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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