The Bouldering and Lead Climbing events at Tokyo 2020 (now 2021) will require professional routesetters to design routes for the athletes to climb. This creates the potential for those routes to be leaked to some athletes before the event.

I can't think of another sport where athletes could benefit so much from information being leaked before the event, so I was wondering what steps are being taken to deal with this new possible way in which countries could cheat.

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    A similar question from a different field: How is secrecy maintained in movie production? Many of the same points there will apply. – Philip Kendall Nov 6 '20 at 8:54
  • @PhilipKendall you are right that the career argument from that post applies here, but I believe the stakes are very different. There is neither money nor prestige to be gained by leaking the plot twist of an upcoming movie. The allure of sponsorships and bribes, on the other hand, has driven athletes and entire national teams to doping, match-fixing and other forms of cheating in the past. – suckrates Nov 6 '20 at 14:12
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    There is definitely money to be made from leaking the plot twist of a movie, the more populist bits of the press will definitely pay for that kind of thing. – Philip Kendall Nov 6 '20 at 14:51
  • @PhilipKendall true. – suckrates Nov 6 '20 at 15:06

As far as I've seen, the answer to how they'll keep it secret is that they just will. It doesn't seem as though there is a specific plan in place to keep this a secret.

That is definitely a good question though, I hadn't even considered that. It seems like there will almost certainly be leaks in the future. If you wanted to look more into this, they'd have the same issue in non-olympic sport climbing, so there might be some info on that.

  • Welcome to Sports Stack Exchange. Tis seems to be a very vague answer, which might be summarised as "I don't know, but sure, they will" and then passed the question back to "just Google it". Can you add some information, for example on what you can find already from other sources on similar issues? – Nij Dec 18 '20 at 23:09

I found the following paragraph in the Tokyo2020 page on Sport Climbing

To prevent athletes gaining an advantage from watching others scaling the bouldering and lead climbing walls before them, each climber is kept away from the climbing wall before their turn and given just a few minutes to examine the wall and routes prior to starting.

So my assumption is that the Olympic officials/organizers for the event will have to set the routes at the time of the competition, without any pre-designs being written up (which could lead to unfair/unequal dissemination.) The walls would have many possible routes. Only at the time of the event would they actually create the route, and would sequester all competitors prior to the event, giving them "the few minutes" to examine the route.

This would not keep national teams from gaining pictures of the bare walls and setting up as many routes as possible within the connections, but the competitors would not know the exact routes until the event.

The next is in my opinion and mine alone, until I can find written evidence.

Of course, this would mean that the bare wall, without attachments set in routes, would need to be allowed to be viewed (or pictures disseminated) to all teams in advance, so no team has an unfair advantage over others.

If this ends up actually being the case, then it might also be true that all of the possible routes could be drawn up and disseminated in advance (or at least made public to all), but as long as there are a large number of possible routes then the deleterious effect of this pre-knowledge can be minimized as much as possible.

  • Isolation (i.e., having the climbers wait backstage until it is their turn to climb) is not the topic of my question. As for your other comments, the number of routes that could be set on a bare wall is not large, it is literally infinite. – suckrates Jan 24 at 20:53

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