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Climbing to the Olympics

Jackson "Goose" shows how fast he can go up an indoor climbing boulder

(KUTV) Indoor climbing could be getting a big boost in the outdoor world now that's officially on the docket as an Olympic sport.

Indoor climbing will be part of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and now indoor climbing experts are racing for the top spots on the 2020 USA team.

“I was really excited, I knew it was a possibility for a long time, and nobody really knew if it was going to make it,” said Nathaniel Coleman, a contender for the 2020 Winter Olympics.

Coleman has been indoor climbing since he was 10 years old, and thinks he has a shot at making the team. Indoor climbing will involve 3 parts: bouldering, sport climbing and speed climbing.

“Ranking at the end of the Olympics will be based on all 3, so you can't compete in one discipline, you have to do all 3,” Coleman said.

It’s big news for Nathaniel, who has been competing at a national level for years, and for the rest of the climbing community.

“I've been climbing now for 40 years and I’ve been wishing that there was a path for Olympic athletes to be participating that whole time, so I’m beside myself,” said Noah Bigwood, VP and coach at Momentum Climbing.

Bigwood says climbing is a natural fit in Utah with the mountains and outdoor culture, and he thinks it’s going to become even more popular.

“Momentum is very excited about the 2020 Olympics. It's a wonderful time for us because we're in the process of expanding in the United States. We're currently in the process of working on a couple of gyms in Texas and elsewhere across the country,” he explained.

Bigwood has been watching kids climbing at Momentum for years. Kids like Jackson “Goose”, whose team recently won 2nd place in a national competition.

“It's a fun sport and once you start doing it, you like it and then you go more and more,” Jackson said.

He started climbing at a young age at home, getting bumps and bruises along the way. His mom Monica says that’s how he got his nickname “Goose” for all the goose eggs he used to get.

His parents finally decided to get him into climbing as a sport – where kids can climb for fun and do it safely. Now climbing has become his life.

“Now that it's an Olympic sport, I’m going to train my hardest, I’ve always wanted to be in the Olympics and represent the U.S.,” Jackson said.

Climbing fans say everyone should give indoor climbing a try but warn it's addictive.

For more information about indoor climbing, visit Momentum Climbing.

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