Canadian Sean McColl was denied a chance to advance at the World Championships after being penalized for his foot touching a logo banner on the route.
I want to start by saying that I am in no way criticizing any athletes. As IFSC Athlete Representative, I fight for athletes’ rights and their right to be judged and scored unbiased and equivalently across the board. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the Lead qualifications here at the 2018 World Championships, I climbed one route almost to the top and upon review was scored much lower on the route because of “touching” a sponsorship logo on the wall. The same review and score was given to FRA Romain Desgranges (who also almost topped the route) for the same reason. The issue at hand is that we were not judged the same as all the other athletes. In my example here, CZE athlete Adam Ondra touched the signage in the EXACT same manner (debatable as always) and was not given the same treatment, process, or score as myself or Romain. [my video is second, swipe left] ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We can all agree that the sign was placed in a poor position; the matter at hand is the difference and error in judging (even after appeal) in this round. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I am not calling out Mr. Ondra whatsoever, he did nothing wrong and I admire, respect, and idolize him. What is strange is that even if the officials had scored him down to where he touched the logo, he did so well on the other qualification route that he would still have advanced. This adds to the puzzle in my mind of why they didn’t treat all athletes equally. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I speak out now because I don’t want ANY athlete EVER in our sport to be treated differently for ANY reason. There are still many days at this World Championships, I myself have two more disciplines to compete in, and I don’t want any more mistakes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What I want, and what I’m appealing (as well as my NF) to the IFSC (@ifsclimbing) is for them to admit the signage was placed poorly and remove the down-score from any affected athlete. This would qualify both Romain and myself for semis. I would not call for a re-calculation, which would put two climbers out of semis, rather +2 extra in the round tomorrow.
McColl wasn’t the only one, as regaining world champion Romain Desgranges was also penalized.
On Instagram, McColl questioned the rule and judging after it appeared Adam Ondra touched the banner as well, but was never penalized.
Yes, all of this would have been avoided if the banner was not on the wall and if the route setters didn’t make a move where you might touch the logo.
In the IFSC, if you touch anything on a wall that is not part of the route, you are deducted points.
McColl has been an IFSC Athlete Representative for years had over 10,000 followers on Instagram agree with him.
McColl asked and was hoping for IFSC “to admit the signage was placed poorly and remove the down-score from any affected athlete. This would qualify both Romain and myself for semis.”
Adam Ondra backed McColl and defended him against any naysayers and sait, “Going into semifinals very and getting psyched, but I am really sad that McColl and Desgranges did not make the semifinals which will not be as packed as it could be without these two legends.”
Ondra also shared a video that shows him near the banner in question and not using it. Of course, if anyone really touched it or not is up for debate base on the video footage.
Nevertheless, due to Ondra’s score even if he was penalized he would have made it to semifinals no problem.
Watch the video below:
Going into semifinals very soon here in @innsbruck2018 and getting psyched, but I am really sad that @seanmccol and Romain Desgranges did not make the semifinals which will not be as packed as it could be without these 2 legends. . It was clearly a huge mistake of the routesetter at the first place, putting the banner where it was clearly natural to place your foot. Hard to say how the judges should have reacted, but letting this happen is very sad. . Comparison videos/stills that went through the social media were all taken from the right hand side. I have really no clue what led judges to the conclusion that I was OK with that and Sean and Romain were not, but from this video – taken from the left hand side – it seems I am using the wall just barely above the banner. . Once you realize that I am only using the inner edge of my shoe – and my toe is comfortably above the banner – I do not think I am touching the banner. . Just an interesting note – in my case, I would have made the semifinals anyway, the result has no relevance for the further competiton – because of seperation of the field into two qualification groups, there is no countback in case of ties.