USA Climbing Postpones Championship Event Due To Coronavirus
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – USA Climbing has postponed its National Open Championship because of coronavirus concerns. The event was planned in Salt Lake City this Friday and Saturday.
The Championships were looked at as UAS Climbing’s big coming out party for Salt Lake City after the team relocated to Utah from Colorado last year.
Also, since climbing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, interest in the sport is sky high. However, the team’s Board of Directors decided to postpone the event until coronavirus risks decrease.
"It was difficult. Our board spent three hours on an emergency board call." @USAClimbing CEO Marc Norman, talking about postponing this weeks National Championships due to #Coronavius concerns. The event was going to be in #SaltLakeCity We'll have this story @KSL5TV at 6. #ksltv pic.twitter.com/yr0JggHTtA
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) March 11, 2020
“It was difficult. Our board spent over three hours on an emergency board call,” said Marc Norman, the CEO of USA Climbing. “We really tried to kind of play out all the scenarios. I especially feel bad for the Front climbing gym.”
The Front is opening a new climbing facility in Salt Lake, and the Open Championships were set to be held there as part of the launch.
“If something did occur and it came back, then you’d look like what a terrible decision, so if that’s what you keep coming back to, you got to say maybe now is the time to cancel it,” said Norman.
Four climbers on Team USA have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“We’re just going to cross our fingers that the games go off without any concerns of the coronavirus,” said Norman.
That remains the biggest question in Tokyo.
Organizers said the Olympics are still scheduled as planned, without a thought to changing or postponing the Games.
“Today, in the meeting of the executive board, neither the word cancellation or the word postponement was even mentioned. And, of course, we are a responsible organization,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.
Bach said they have had several conversations about the impact of coronavirus on the game.
“We are in contact with all of these leading experts,” he said. “The World Health Organization is a member of the joint task force. We have our own task force within the IOC with experts. The organizing committee has a task force – and then we are getting together in the joint task force. Based on this information, and on this consultation, we are fully committed to the success of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
As for USA Climbing, they still hope to hold the Open Championships later in the year.
Even though the decision was a difficult one, Nelson said it’s better to be safe and plan for it down the line.
“We can regroup, we can look forward, and we can make it happen,” he said.
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