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The Olympic Speed route solution
  2017-03-15 00:00:00    
IFSC is about to take decision in regards the Olympic format this weekend and here are the 8a thoughts which focuses on that the Speed route should vary, be steeper and include four lanes.

1. The Speed world record holder, Danyl Boldyrev, has told 8a he thinks the fixed route is boring.
2. There are only a dozen certified world record walls in the world
3. The Paris World Championship wall did not get certified
4. Most potential athletes live many hours from nearest Speed wall
5. Gym owners do not want rebuild their walls
6. We should not make kids (slow) speed climbing robots
7. Six seconds spectacle is too little

On the other side, the current 6b+ route is too difficult for the youngest athletes and in fact harder for shorter kids. Even in world champions, runs over 15 seconds are normal and the fixed route setting excludes the average young climber to speed climb. In some countries they have actually added holds in order to let the youngest reach the top.

IOC has said that the best must participate and ultimately, if we will make it to the 2024, Ondra needs to participate. A steeper route is longer, looks more impressive and is less about leg muscles. It will also need less invested time for Ondra etc to get a high level which makes him more interested to participate.

Defintions
10 - 18 meters high
0 - 4 meters overhanging
7a difficulty down to 6a for juniors
Up to 10 meters (four lanes) wide
Normal route setting

In regards the Combined format, 8a suggest that first all 20 athletes will do one run of Lead, Boulder and Speed. Then calculate the Top-8 and do one more run. As an option, the Top-4 can then compete with semi and finals in a Duel to decide the podium. Adam Ondra has said he thinks the 8a Olympic solution is "reasonable in terms of fairness" beside the Duel.
OffLine Tanka Rhai
  2017-03-09 10:08:21    
hm.... I don't think this post will change any ifsc desicion but it's always fun to speculate anyways. ;) I'd appreciate a flash format for the speed comp: Climbers get to know the beta, so they could set different routes for each round (quali, semi and final) without setting them too easy or boring... This would also reflect the three fundamental climbing styles: redpointing (represented by the boulder comp (ok...more or less)), flashing (my idea of the "speed" comp) and onsighting (the classical lead comp).
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-09 10:12:11    
IFSC has asked for our suggestion and we are in contact with some of the coaches who will attend the meeting this weekend. But I agree, most likely everything is set to the best already :) Flash for Speed could be unfair to the first starters.
OffLine Arnoud Prinz
  2017-03-09 14:06:04    
sound stil way to easy, 7a, for the top climbers.
OnLine George Kahn
  2017-03-09 14:18:14    
My recommendations:

1. In qualifying, boulder and lead should each get 2x the weight as speed. i.e. speed should count for one-fifth the qualifying score, with boulder counting 2/5ths and lead also counting 2/5ths. Reason is that as I understand it, the world's top speed climbers will not compete (they aren't good enough at lead and boulder). So let's not give equal weight to a discipline that is a side show, compared to what the participating climbers have trained for and competed in their entire lives.

2. Score should not count on placement, but rather on achievement. Similar to how the decathlon in athletics works. In lead, the higher you climb, the more points you get. In speed, the faster you make the top, the more you earn. Boulder is harder, but I'm sure the IFSC can come up with achievement-based criteria here as well (maybe a combination of tops and total holds controlled?).

3. Five climbers make finals for men and women. Scoring format is the same as in qualifying.

4. NO duels! That's elevating speed (which IMO should be last in importance) to the top. Enough bastardizing our wonderful sport, turning it into circus tricks, in search of spectacle.

As for the points Jens made in his article, for the most part I find them irrelevant, and will explain why in a separate post.
OffLine Steve
  2017-03-09 14:49:11    
I never really watched a speed climbing competition, because it's just too boring and if I wanted to know about the results of some specific athletes I would get the same amount of entertainment and information from some kind of news feed or twitter. The psicobloc / dws competitions in the us, which are closer to the 8a suggestion here, are actually not that entertaining either, from a climbing perspective. That is, the routes, even with the dynos and stuff, didn't look that interesting and weren't the center of attention either. What I really like, on the other hand, are the duel-style finals of the Adidas Rockstars competitions...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-09 17:29:58    
@ Arnoud: If it should be Speed climbing I think 7a is the maximum difficulty. If it becomes 7b or more as you seems suggest it will not be considered speed climbing. @ George: Interesting thoughts but way to complicated and unfair for the Speed climbers. It is impossible to score points for how good you climbed in a lead or on some boulder relatively to what other achieved. The basic idea is that A duel with be the easiest way for the spectators who won and it will also be action to the last climber. If the medals will only be decided based on results, if just might be that the last climber out has no chance at all to get a medal even if he does it. It seems most think DWS comps are interesting as they attract a lot of spectators and also a lot of sponsors. Adidas Rockstars is about topping out as fast as possible which is the same idea with Lead Duels.  
OffLine Arnoud Prinz
  2017-03-15 11:49:38    
At the psycoblock from 2015 they were running up. That was around the 8a and IMO speed. And the level of climbers wil be higher at the Olympics in 2020.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-15 16:31:09    
That is Duel climbing for like 30 seconds which has nothing to do with Speed climbing during 6 - 7 seconds :)