4 minutes flat! No more tops after the beep!

This season, during bouldering finals in IFSC events, climbers will have 4 minutes flat to climb each problem. This is a significant change from the 4 minute “plus” rule, which meant that climbers could finished their attempts (and get tops) even if the time had run out during that attempt. Here are my thoughts on the rule change!

The change in the rulebook

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  1. Definitely don’t like it at all. I’ve seen lots of discussion about this and have not seen a single positive comment about it anywhere. Getting on the wall seconds before the buzzer has been a great source of tension and excitement in the finals.

    Changing the sport to suit TV slots seems weak and spineless. There are many other sports where the length of the competition is open. Tennis is one popular example. Some tennis finals have gone on for so long they’ve had pause the match and carry on the next day. I wonder how the tennis world would react if they were told that matches at Wimbledon would end exactly after 2 hours to suit the TV slots?

    There have also been alternative suggestions regarding TV slots which seem better. The 4+1 rule is one example. After 4 minutes if the climber is still on the wall they have up to 1 minute to complete the problem.

    Aside from the rule change I dislike the way the IFSC is making these changes. They don’t appear to consult with anyone first. The success of the World Cups involves a huge number of people, the athletes, sponsors, route setters, the fans, film crews etc., not just the IFSC. It seems arrogant and undemocratic to bring in changes that affect the sport so drastically without a wider consultation.

    In terms of getting used to it seems like very few of us will even get to see the World Cups now they’ve decided to stop streaming on Youtube anyway.

    • I couldn’t agree more. In the best of cases, the IFSC has a terrible communication problem. They always end up looking detached from the community and quite undemocratic, as you say. So best case they are doing things right and making it look wrong. Worst case they are doing things wrong and making it as it is. It has been happening with pretty much every decision for a few years (rule changes, the Olympic and now the streaming).

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