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The CEC Cancels 2020-2021 Competition Season

Climbing Escalade Canada has cancelled the 2020-2021 competition season, however, the High Performance Program remains underway

While Canadians stay at home, the number of new COVID-19 cases furthers a steady decline. These numbers support the fact that lockdown is an effective measure for fighting the pandemic, though large-scale vaccination may be required for Canada’s return to competition.

On January 25, Climbing Escalade Canada announced that they will cancel the remainder of the 2020-2021 National Season. After the cancellation of the first half of the season in October, athletes awaited this unfortunate news. For competitive climbers this might mean another high-quality outdoor season as exhibited by Becca Frangos, Ivan Luo, and Brennan Doyle this past summer.

On January 13, the CEC Board of Directors made their decision to cancel the remainder of the National season. This season had Regional and National events tentatively scheduled for May. This cancellation might show National Sport Organization (NSO) projections for the Olympic season scheduled to begin only three months later.

This decision was made at the peak of COVID-19 case counts and was, in part, a response to various provinces states of emergency. What is significant is that this cancellation is at odds with USA Climbing’s decision to go forward with their youth competition schedule.

These diverging perspectives provide Canada the opportunity to see how smaller-scale Regional and Divisional (Provincial) competitions might be carried out in the future should a form of the pandemic persist into September.

Though Canada has closed the door on competition for now, the CEC will strike a Competition Task Force to determine alternative options that might allow athletes to return to competition sooner rather than later. According to the CEC’s publication, “A new Competition Calendar and Format for the 2021-2022 Competition Season will be presented to the community in the upcoming months, which may include events in the fall of 2021, should it safe to stage events.”

The 2021 High Performance program, headed by new Head Coach Libor Hroza, is not affected by this decision. This is a good sign because it leaves the door open for further competitor development in the absence of a competition season. Though competitions are gone for now, this allows athletes to build into longer, more productive training cycles. This is significant as many of Canada’s younger competitors are looking toward the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The CEC has asked the Canadian climbing community to consider supporting their organization through the purchase of a 2020-2021 Supporter License. This can be done here. If you are excited about Canadian rock climbing and want to help Canadians stand atop podiums on the international stage, this is a great time to donate. As the High Performance Program gets off of the ground, there has never been so much structure, direction, focus and organization behind Canadian climbing’s most important NSO.