Utah Olympian Excited About The Future Of Climbing In SLC Following Tokyo Games

Aug 6, 2021, 6:52 PM
Nathaniel Coleman of Team United States of America   during the Sport Climbing Men's Combined Final...
Nathaniel Coleman of Team United States of America during the Sport Climbing Men's Combined Final on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

TOKYO — After its historic debut as an Olympic Sport in Tokyo, the climbing competition is officially over.

Women’s finals were Thursday night, and although no American medaled, the sport is being called one of the exciting surprises of these Games.

Climbing was popular in Utah before the Olympics — go into any climbing gym and you’ll see just how popular it is.

But now, after the Olympics, and if kids were watching this event, chances are they’ll want to give it a try, and the sport is expected to grow even more.

Three of the four U.S. climbers made it into the final round, which gave the sport even more exposure in the United States.

The biggest name right now in the sport climbing is Murray’s Nathaniel Coleman, who won the Silver Medal.

After the men’s finals, he told KSL’s Alex Cabrero it didn’t feel real, but they met up again earlier Friday and he said it’s starting to sink in.

He’s also excited about all the attention the sport will bring to Salt Lake City because of USA Climbing’s headquarters being based there.

“I think it goes to show that Salt Lake is one of the epicenters of climbing in the United States,” said Coleman. “We have the training center now. I think it will be a big part of Salt Lake in the future.”

And the future of climbing is what USA Climbing CEO Marc Norman is excited for.

He was part of the big decision to move the headquarters from Boulder, Colorado to Salt Lake City three years ago.

After the success of the U.S. team in the Tokyo Olympics, he said other countries are starting to look at American climbing as serious contenders.

“I like to use the story quite a bit, but we have a number of federations that have come up to me and asked, or made the comment, that we always wondered when America was going to wake up, and the sleeping giant has woke up. Love it,” said Norman.

You can tell he truly cares about the sport and its future.

As for Coleman, he knows kids just starting to climb will be looking up to him, and he said he would like to be a sort of role model to them.

He also said he’s already thinking about the Paris 2024 Olympics. But first, he’ll be going to the Closing Ceremony.

There’s already talk of a parade for him being planned in Murray when he gets back home.

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Utah Olympian Excited About The Future Of Climbing In SLC Following Tokyo Games