If Spider-Man competed in any Olympic event, it would be sport climbing.
The sport features three different disciplines on an artificial rock wall. All events will be combined for one medal in this year’s games:
- Speed Climbing
- Lead Climbing
Speed Climbing is as wild as it sounds. Two competitors race up a 49 foot wall side-by-side. The fastest climber wins. And it’s absolutely nuts.
Lead climbing is a solo competition done with a rope. Climbers have six minutes to get as far as they can on a more challenging 49 foot wall.
Bouldering is done without a rope, but the stakes aren’t as high as Alex Honnold’s Free Solo attempt. Climbers have four minutes to face four “problems.” Those could involve jumping from rock to rock, hanging upside down, or holding onto pieces by the fingertips.
I’m not sure why three seemingly different events will all count towards one medal in this year’s Olympics, and neither do some climbers.
“I am NOT in support of the format that imposes that all climbers must compete in speed climbing,” said Lynn Hill, a legendary free climber. “That is like asking a middle distance runner to compete in the sprint. Speed climbing is a sport within our sport.”