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MEC and Climbing Escalade Canada Team Up for Olympics

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC) sign climbing agreement before debut at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Two organizations with dedication and passion for climbing in Canada are combining efforts to elevate the sport across the country in advance of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, where sport climbing will be making its Olympic debut.

CEC, the sport’s national organizing body, and MEC, Canada’s go-to place for outdoor gear, have signed a landmark agreement that will see the outdoor retailer become the founding partner and title sponsor of CEC National Competitions.

The partnership includes a financial contribution of $375,000 from MEC over three years as well as an in-kind product contribution that will see MEC design and manufacture National Climbing Team uniforms and apparel.

CEC Chair Steve Frangos said, “Financial support from MEC, together with support the CEC receives from Sport Canada, is crucial to developing CEC athletes vying for excellence at Climbing World Cups, Climbing World Championships and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The CEC is keen to work with MEC to leverage this partnership for the benefit of our aspiring athletes.”

MEC’s support will enable the CEC to develop and implement a new organizing structure and high-performance program to bolster the CEC’s existing National Team athletes. Ultimately, the goal is to develop the next generation of Canada’s elite and top-level climbers.

“MEC was founded by climbers in 1971, and 47 years on climbing remains one of our core activities,” said CEO David Labistour.

“MEC’s partnership with the CEC is an ideal fit for both organizations, and we are excited to support young up-and-coming climbers as they vie for sporting excellence in national and international competitions and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

The CEC runs a youth circuit for 12 to 19 year olds, and an open circuit for 16-year-olds and up.

“Supporting Canadian climbers on the world stage and fostering athletes at home is a giant leap forward for our sport, said CEC Athlete Representative Stacey Weldon.

“My peers and I look forward to a lot of positive change to come from the CEC-MEC partnership.”

Watch CEC Boulder team member Alannah Yip at an IFSC World Cup in Switzerland this year below.

Competitive climbing, or sport climbing as it is also known, involves three separate disciplines. Bouldering challenges climbers to solve pre-set problems without using ropes.

Lead Climbing has competitors scaling a wall while roped in, clipping into fixed anchors within a set time frame. In Speed Climbing, athletes compete for the fastest time to the top of a 15-metre climbing wall.

Competitive climbing coincides with the growing popularity of gym climbing in Canada and other countries as
part of the larger trend toward the urbanization of sport.

On May 19 to 21, the CEC will host the 2018 Youth and Open Lead Speed Nationals at The Boulders climbing
gym in Central Saanich, Victoria, B.C.