By John Burgman
USA Climbing recently announced that it is cancelling the 2020 Youth Sport and Speed National Championships, which were originally scheduled to take place at Reach Climbing in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, from July 9–12. In the announcement, USA Climbing also affirmed the cancellations of its 2020 Collegiate National Championships (originally scheduled to take place at Earth Treks in Englewood, Colorado) and its 2020 Paraclimbing National Championships (originally scheduled to take place at Mesa Rim in San Diego).
The reason cited for the cancellations was the “ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.” A press release signed by both USA Climbing’s CEO, Marc Norman, and USA Climbing’s President of the Board of Directors, Patti Rube, stated: “While most states have begun to ease restrictions, it is clear that hosting these National Championship events, even with significant modifications, is simply not feasible given the current status of the pandemic and varying travel and safety guidelines across the country.”
The announcement of cancellations left open the possibility of regional youth events taking place in mid-August. These events would not see youth competitors advancing to events beyond the regional circuit, and would not result in national team selection. However, these youth events would still “allow…youth competitors to reclaim the joy of competition climbing this year.”
Of note is that USA Climbing did not include the 2020 Open Sport and Speed National Championships in the announced cancellations. That event was originally scheduled to take place in March at the Front South Main in Millcreek, Utah, but it remains postponed.
USA Climbing also noted that it is still planning for the Olympic Games, which have been postponed until the summer of 2021. The American climbers who have qualified for the Olympics are Brooke Raboutou, Kyra Condie, Nathaniel Coleman and Colin Duffy.
John Burgman has been writing about climbing for nearly a decade. He is a Fulbright journalism grant recipient, a former magazine editor at Outdoor Life, and the author of two books. He holds a master’s degree from New York University and bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio. In addition to writing, he coaches a youth bouldering team.