During the pandemic, many sports organizations had to get creative and find new ways of interacting and engaging with their athletes. Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC), the nation's governing body for the Olympic sport, is an example of one organization that found an opportunity to shift to a new way of engaging their athletes.
Climbing Canada was unable to host in-person events due to strict COVID-19 protocols across Canada, so they needed to find an alternative way to collect submissions for the purpose of qualifying athletes to the 2022 Youth Speed Nationals.
In partnership with GMTM, CEC was able to launch a virtual submission process which would allow athletes to submit their times, metrics and videos from anywhere in Canada. The Youth Speed Nationals Qualifying Submissions campaign was launched in February 2022 to allow athletes to submit their qualifying times and videos for Climbing Canada’s review.
Once the virtual submission process was implemented, GMTM provided resources to CEC to help their athletes navigate the new process. In conjunction with CEC’s ongoing education & communication to their athletes, GMTM activated the campaign launch by providing supplemental resources to CEC athletes, including a How-To Participate guide. GMTM also promoted the new submission process, virtual campaign and educational resources across social media.
From February through March of 2022, Climbing Canada accepted video submissions from athletes as a qualifier for the 2022 Youth Speed Nationals. Through an interactive activity in the virtual campaign, Canadian athletes ages 14 to 19 uploaded one video documenting a full speed climbing run. In the activity, athletes were asked to record and upload a video showing visual and audio evidence of a full speed run using an electronic timing device. Athletes were also given an opportunity to share additional details about their personal best climbing time or a personal best climbing time from a competition for the coaches to learn more about the athlete’s background.
All of the video submissions, qualifying times, and athlete profiles were reviewed by CEC's national team coaches and event organizers.The participants with the top qualifying submissions were then selected for the in-person national event.
Climbing Canada was able to replace all in-person events in Spring 2022 with a virtual submission process. The virtual submission process allowed 48 athletes from all across Canada to participate. Virtual events like this one hosted by Climbing Canada, not only provides an alternative when there are in-person restrictions, but it also opens the opportunity for athletes to access an opportunity without being limited by resources or geography.
Athletes like Julia Finstad and Nate Corsi, were able to submit their submissions directly to CEC for evaluation. By removing barriers, athletes can easily submit their information to organizations like CEC for evaluation. Ultimately, the increased ability to access an event allows athletes the opportunity to gain access to coaches, organizations and resources they may not otherwise have access to.
CEC was so pleased with the virtual process for their athletes, that they are planning to launch new virtual events on GMTM in 2023. CEC has seen how GMTM can be used to replace future in-person events, which reduces their overhead costs and at the same time allows athletes to participate from anywhere. Reducing the lift on CEC to conduct in-person events is a huge win for the organization and for the athletes who may not have the resources necessary to attend in-person events.