Two announcements shook the climbing world this week. In a remarkable demonstration of bumbling incompetence, the IFSC revealed, just two days before the first competition, that the livestream of the World Cup would no longer be free but will instead cost an insane amount of money. FloSport, the same company that screwed over grappling, is now charging a premium for what their track record suggests will be a shoddy level of service.
Rumour has it that the IFSC is struggling for money. Rumour also has it that they’re an organisation that is no longer representative of the community and one wonders if they took the deal out of sheer desperation. With meaty sponsors such as Adidas and Red Bull, there are questions as to why it wasn’t possible to find some sort of deal with them or some other corporate heavyweight. Following on from the Olympic fiasco, the IFSC either have an alarming lack of respect for climbers or they are worryingly inept. We’re not sure which is worse.
Speaking of caffeinated pisswater…
Ashima Shiraishi announced this week that she has sold out to Coca Cola. Cue critical comments in response, which then drew responses from fans who clearly don’t understand how advertising works. Let us explain this to you.
We make companies that make shit products pay for our sporting events.
Coca Cola are not allowed to advertise to children because their product is so shit. Instead, they spend their incomprehensible advertising budget on sponsorship, either funding events or funding athletes, as a means of associating their brand with something cool. While coaches around the world spend time teaching their wonderkids the importance of a healthy diet, climbing’s most important athlete just signed a deal with a corporate behemoth that promotes type 2 diabetes on a global scale. Ashima’s announcement came on her 16th birthday as though her becoming an adult – and now able to advertise a product unfit for kids – somehow means that all of her fans are now adults too.
People argue that there should be a tax on junk food. In a way, this tax already exists: we make companies that make shit products pay for our sporting events. We rationalise the impact on our nation’s health because, you know, sport. We create a generation of athletes whilst simultaneously condemning another generation to a health crisis. As a society, we subconsciously justify it and normalise it. For every child that is inspired and embarks on a lifelong journey of sporting endeavour, there’s another child that’s condemned to a short, depressing life of morbid obesity.
But let’s be honest: if Coca Cola came knocking, we’d have a hard time turning them down so it’s tough to blame Ashima for taking a deal that gives her a future in an industry that can be incredibly fickle and a career that could be destroyed by the simplest of injuries. It’s not necessarily her responsibility to steer clear of shit companies. However, it definitely is the responsibility of the community to tell them it’s shit and push back. We might be the only climbing website with the guts to do it, but:
Ashima, you’re awsome. Coca Cola, Red Bull, Monster, McDonalds and all the rest – you’re all shit. For as long as junk food pays for our sport, the obesity epidemic will continue.