NORMAN, Okla. - Competitive climbing is already huge in Europe and Asia, but now one Oklahoma athlete is hoping to steal the spotlight on the world's stage.
Gentry Cole started climbing in Texas in 2010. Since then, the 19-year-old has competed in several national events, including some with OU.
"When I climb, I climb for two to three hours,” Gentry Cole said.
The University of Oklahoma just started its own climbing team, making it the only collegiate climbing team in the state.
“Really it's a full body sport. Really you're using every part of your body including your mind because it's a problem-solving sport,” Aaron Gibson, OU's climbing coach, said.
Cole recently qualified to compete in sport climbing and speed climbing at the World University Sport Climbing Championship in Slovakia in June.
“When you're speed climbing, you try and think about nothing. You practice hours and hours and hours on end so when you get in the competition, you can just slate your mind clean,” Gibson said.
He's hoping to climb up the course in 6.3 seconds. To put that in perspective, the men's world record is 5.48 seconds, according to the BBC.
Climbing is so popular that in 2020, sport climbing will become an official Olympic sport.
“I guess my future goal would be going to the Olympics because I've competed on the world level before and I`m hoping that maybe I can reach the Olympics,” Cole said.