Central Ohio climbers excited as sport makes Olympic debut

Japan 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Sport climbing makes its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo games and local climbers at Vertical Adventures in Columbus are excited to see their sport reach new heights at the games.

“It’s a very different sport and viewers are going to see that in the Olympics,” said Matt Roberts from Vertical Adventures.

It’s a sport that tests an athlete’s power, strength, and mental endurance to problem solve.

“The ethos is not climber against climber, it’s not even team against team, it is the climber against the climb, it’s the climber against the wall,” Roberts added.

That is a challenge coaches at Vertical Adventures teach their young climbers as they scale a wall using a range of hand and footholds of different shapes and sizes.

“It’s a very collaborative sport,” Roberts said. “It’s a very mentor-based sport.”

At Vertical Adventures, more than 200 climbers take part in all three disciplines of climbing athletes will compete in at the Olympics: lead climbing, speed climbing, and boulder.

“I’m so excited,” said climber Addy Rapp. “It’s great to see our sport finally make it in and I’m really excited to watch them compete.”

Rapp picked up climbing four years ago and competes in regional competitions on Team Vertical.

“I love climbing because you can push yourself physically and mentally,” she added.

Now that sport climbing is officially part of the Olympic games, young athletes can aspire to reach new heights in their sport.

“I think it could give a lot of motivation to the kids on the team or any kids that like climbing because it gives them something to look up to, and it’s a cool thing to have in the back of your mind,” said Rocco Piaskowski, a climber on Team Vertical.

Vertical Adventures organizers said having climbing as an Olympic sport opens up new opportunities for athletes.

“I could potentially get a scholarship to college, go to the Olympics, I could have bigger aspirations than, ‘All right, now I’m 19, I’ve aged out of the youth circuit so now I’m going to climb for fun,’” said Carrie Roccos, founder of Vertical Adventures.

Although scaling a vertical wall can be fun, coaches and parents see an educational side to the sport.

“This gives them that ability to problem solve and learn something new and learn how to fail and get back on it, so they learn resilience,” Piaskowski said. “It’s a really cool sport.”

And it’s now a sport viewers around the world will get to see for the first time as an Olympic sport.

“It’s pretty awesome, and I’m still super excited to watch it,” Piaskowski said.

“It’s really cool because more kids will be able to hear and learn about it, and it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy the whole community, too,” Rapp said.

Sport climbing is scheduled to begin at the Olympics on Aug. 3.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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