Are climbing and roller derby destined for the Olympics? Colorado's ready to rock the world
Last week we reported on the International Olympic Committee's announcement that ski and snowboard slopestyle events have officially been added as medal sports for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and on the local ramifications of that decision. And wait, there's more: Other big news with a solid local angle coming out of the 123rd IOC session in Durban, South Africa includes the announcement that sport climbing -- including lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering as individual disciplines -- is one of eight new sports being considered for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Games, with the International Federation of Sport Climbing as the recognized sanctioning body.
USA Climbing (our national governing body and IFSC member) is headquartered in Boulder, where the news will be dominating the watercooler wisdom and Camelbak chitchat around the office and on the rocks this week, even though there's still quite a -- ahem -- climb ahead: Just one of the eight sports being considered will make the cut, and the list also includes baseball, softball, karate, roller sports, squash, wakeboarding and wushu.
Let's look at those odds, shall we? Baseball and softball were voted out of the Olympics in 2005 and had their last run around the bases at the 2008 Games in Beijing. They won't be medal sports in London in 2012, making them the first sports to be voted out since the Nazis put polo players on the list of minority groups they were against in 1936. Sorry, baseball and softball fans, but the great American pastime appears to be past its time on the world stage: These sports don't seem any more likely to be reinstated by 2020 than people riding horseback with mallets. Wushu is a full-contact martial art and would make for some kick-ass TV and Olympic spectating, but it's obscure enough that it's probably not going to make the cut either, especially not ahead of karate. Wakeboarding is, well, wakeboarding.
We'd bet on karate, squash or climbing, though the inclusion of roller sports could have a fun local angle, too: USA Roller Sports recently added roller derby to its list of disciplines (speed skating, figure skating, rink hockey and inline hockey), and everybody knows that Colorado's rollergirls rule the world.