Ben WestWhy would sport climbing make a good Olympic Sport?

“Sport climbing would fit into the Olympics really well because it’s super exciting. Particularly with the variation of the three disciplines with the power required for speed, endurance required for lead and strength and athleticism needed for bouldering it makes for a really good spectator sport. It is also one of the few sports that challenges athletes on a vertical basis and this sets it apart and makes it a bit different to all other Olympic sports.”

What do the GB team need to do differently to prepare for the Olympics?

“With the Olympics being four years away, I think what the GB team need to do is pull their resources together and train as one. At the moment the bouldering, lead and junior teams train and prepare separately but to create a more rounded three discipline athlete a more combined team approach will be necessary.”

What are the challenges of a combined three discipline event?

“Most athletes specialise in one discipline. I think this proposal from the IFSC of a three discipline format is going to be really tough on the athletes and a big challenge for them. Only a few compete in all three and obviously they are going to have a bit of a head start and as a result competitors world-wide are really going to have to up their game and work on those areas they might not necessarily enjoy and be strong at. For us in the UK, speed climbing is going to be tough. For one we’ve only got two facilities in the country that you can train speed climbing and generally it’s not trained at all here so I think up and coming athletes are really going to have to get to grips with these skills.”

What are your thoughts on the Climb2020 campaign?

“I think the Climb2020 campaign is a great project and not only is it raising awareness for climbing for the Olympics but it’s going to help grow the sport and will be really good for the profile of athletes like myself and athletes that dream of competing in the Olympic games.”