On June 25, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously in favour of including sport climbing in the summer Olympic Games in Paris. Surfing, skateboarding and breaking (break-dancing) have also been provisionally voted in. If sport climbing does make it to Paris 2024, the competition format is likely to be different, allowing more athletes to compete and offering more chances to win medals.
An observation period now follows. The IOC will be closely watching how sport climbing fares during its debut at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August 2020, and a final decision on whether to include the sport at Paris 2024 will be made in December 2020.
Paris 2024 President, Tony Estanguet, commented: "These four sports bring a real sense of innovation to the overall program of 28 Olympic sports. As well as being spectacular and creative, they generate strong engagement among young people. They also project the values that we hold dear in terms of openness and diversity.”
In the run up to the Paris decision, hopeful competition climbers from around the globe posted photos of themselves making Eiffel Tower shapes with their hands and bodies, to show their support.
A different competition format
If sport climbing does make it to Paris 2024, the competition format is likely to be different, allowing more athletes to compete and offering more chances to win medals.
At Tokyo, sport climbing will be a triple-discipline combined competition, with 40 athletes competing in Speed, Boulder and Lead, and three medals up for grabs for the men's and women's competitions.
For the Paris Olympics, it has been proposed that Bouldering and Lead climbing would be a combined event with 40 athletes competing, and that there would be a separate Speed Climbing event, with 32 athletes competing.
A marathon and an egg-and-spoon race
The idea of holding Speed Climbing as a separate event has been welcomed by many athletes, who see this as a step towards separating sport climbing into three Olympic disciplines, with medals available for each.
British bouldering star, Shauna Coxsey, commented on the Redbull blog that holding a combined Speed, Lead and Bouldering competition is “like asking Usain Bolt to run a marathon, then do an egg-and-spoon race. They’re not just different disciplines, they’re completely different sports.”
One thing is clear: competition climbing is continuing its Olympic rise.
The Tokyo Olympic Games will take place from August 4 - 7 2020 in the Aomi Urban Sports Park. More information on buying tickets can be found here: ticket.tokyo2020.org
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