Gordon McArthur is one of the best ice climbers in the world and this year, he got the invite every athlete hopes for: to go to the Olympics. Ice climbing is still not an official Olympic sport this year, instead it is seen a “cultural event,” or showcase, of the competition. But it’s the first step to getting the sport as an actual Olympic event. Throughout the days, attendees can witness the thrilling event and get stoked on it.
Although currently competing on the World Cup in Switzerland, Gordon took a few minutes to answer some questions for us about his upcoming trip to Sochi and representing his favorite sport.
SCARPA: What does being involved in the Olympics feel like? How did you get the invite?
Gordon McArthur: Being involved in the Olympics at any level is an amazing opportunity. But, to be able to showcase the sport that I love in front of the world is so thrilling. When I got the official invite I was over the moon for sure.
S: What does this mean for ice climbing to be featured in the Olympics?
GM: It’s a huge leap forward for the sport. We get to show the world why ice climbing is such a rad sport, why we athletes love it, and how exciting it can be to watch.
S: Do you think the sport become an event in the Olympics?
GM: I definitely think this will be an official Olympic sport in the coming years. There are a lot of big time corporations pushing for it that have a lot of money to help drive the momentum. Hopefully climbing will eventually be in both summer and winter.
S: When are you heading to Russia? What have you heard about the setting?
GM: I take off to Russia on February 10th. I’ve heard a lot of stuff from the media and friends, but I think that some of the “hype” of danger has gone a bit too far. Like any major event, it’s not going to be perfect and there is a level of security to be aware of, but I believe it’s going to be an amazing opportunity, and I’m super excited to be a part of it.
S: What is your plan for the day of the competition?
GM: Well, it’s not a competition; we’re just showcasing the sport. So, there’s no “specific day” that we’re competing; more so, we’ll be climbing on the tower to demonstrate how rad climbing with tools is.
S: Where you have been training?
GM: I’ve been mostly training in my backyard, where I’ve built a huge climbing structure. It has allowed me to train for World Cup-style climbing, specifically. I’ve also spent a lot of time at the gym for general fitness.
S: Do you have a support team that will be accompanying you to Sochi? Will your family be there?
GM: I will have friends, co-athletes and sponsors there that will certainly help with the trip, but my family won’t be there. It’s very hard to get a Russian visa and with the logistics, it would be too much. Instead, they’re here with me in Switzerland right now, watching me compete in World Cups, which is awesome.
S: Do you have any trips planned for the rest of the season?
GM: Well, I still have four more World Cups: Italy, France, Switzerland and Russia; then I’m going home! Home, home, home! But after that, I’ll be getting ready for rock season.
Have fun in Sochi, Gordon!