Everest 60th Anniversary – a lucky sign for climbing’s Olympic bid?

In a mountainous coincidence, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to announce the final shortlist of sports vying for a place at the 2020 Olympic Games on the same day as the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest.

Olympic Symbol Just three weeks away, 29 May 2013 will be a crucial day for climbing's Olympic bid and could be another historic milestone in climbing's history. The International Federation of Sport Climbing(IFSC) is the force behind the bid to get climbing into the Olympics and the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is backing the bid. On 29 May, the IFSC will present the case for climbing to the IOC Executive Board in St Petersburg, Russia. After hearing from all eight bidding sports, the board will recommend which three sports will go to the final vote at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.

There have been connections between climbing and the Olympics for many years. Gold medals from the 1924 Winter Olympics were awarded to members of the 1922 British Everest expedition for the tremendous efforts which brought them within 500 metres of the summit. This was some 30 years before the 1953 British Everest expedition went on to make history with the first successful ascent of the world’s highest mountain.

In 2012, British mountaineer Kenton Cool took one of the 1924 Olympic medals to the summit of Everest to fulfil a pledge by one of the Everest pioneers - the 1922 expedition deputy leader, Lt Col Edward Strutt.

Kenton Cool said: “In 1894 Baron Pierre de Coubertin reconstituted the modern Olympic movement and made a deliberate choice to include our sport of climbing. He felt so strongly about climbing’s inclusion that in 1924 he personally awarded the first ever Olympic Gold Medals for Mountaineering, and in 2012 I fulfilled the subsequent promise made by Great Britain to Baron Pierre de Coubertin and the IOC to place one of the 1924 Mountaineering Olympic Gold Medals onto the summit of the world’s highest mountain ‘for all humanity’.

“Climbing is the very essence of everything Baron Pierre de Coubertin meant when he wrote the Olympic motto of ‘higher, faster, stronger’, and it was there on the very first day of the modern Olympics.

The 29th May, 2013 will be a momentous day for climbing. It is the 60th anniversary of the first successful summit of Mount Everest and it is the date the IFSC will present their case to the IOC. I’m backing the bid”.

Climbing as we’d see it in the 2020 Olympics would be very different to climbing Everest as competition climbing takes place on man-made walls. The IFSC is proposing a multi-discipline event which would include speed, lead climbing and bouldering. This fits perfectly with the Olympic motto Faster (speed); Higher (lead); Stronger (bouldering).


Related New Articles:

Support Climbings Olympic Bid - The BMC
Olympic Games: The seven sports bidding for a 2020 place - The BBC
Climbing considered for 2020 Olympics - UKC

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