Sport climbing at the 2020 Summer Olympics

sporting event

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Sport climbing
at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad
VenueAomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo
Dates2–5 August 2021
No. of events2

Sport climbing at the 2020 Summer Olympics is an event to be held in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.[1] It will be the first time that climbing has been an event in the Summer Olympics.[2] Two events will be held, one for men and one for women. The proposed format will consist of three disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. The winner will be determined based on who performs best in all three disciplines. This format was previously tested at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.


On August 3, 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally announced that sport climbing would be a medal sport in the 2020 Summer Olympics.[1][3] The inclusion was proposed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) in 2015.[4]

The decision to combine three disciplines—lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing—with one set of medals per gender—caused widespread criticism in the climbing world.[5]

Climber Lynn Hill said the decision to include speed climbing was like "asking a middle distance runner to compete in the sprint." Climber Adam Ondra voiced similar sentiments, saying in an interview that anything would be better than this combination. There is some overlap between athletes in the categories of lead climbing and bouldering, but speed climbing is usually seen as a separate climbing discipline that is practiced by specialized athletes. Climber Shauna Coxsey stated, "No boulderer has transitioned to speed and lead, and no speed climber has done it to bouldering and lead."[5][6]

Members of the IFSC explained that they were only granted one gold medal per gender by the Olympic committee and they did not want to exclude speed climbing. The IFSC's goal for the 2020 Olympics was primarily to establish climbing and its three disciplines as Olympic sports; changes to the format could follow later. This tactic proved to be successful: they were granted a second set of medals for the 2024 Summer Olympics, and in 2024 speed climbing will be a separate event from the event combining lead climbing and bouldering.[5][7][8]

Final rankings will be calculated by taking the multiplication of the climbers' rankings in each climbing discipline, with the best score being the lowest one. [9]


There are 40 quota spots available for sport climbing. Each National Olympic Committee can obtain a maximum of 2 spots in each event (total 4 maximum across the 2 events). Each event will have 20 competitors qualify: 18 from qualification, 1 from the host (Japan), and 1 from Tripartite Commission invitations.[10]

The 2019 IFSC Climbing World Championships served as one qualification event with 7 spots per gender being awarded to the top finishers of the combined event.[11][12]



Q Qualification F Finals
Date Aug 2 Aug 3 Aug 4 Aug 5
Men's S B L S B L
Women's S B L S B L

S = Speed, B = Bouldering, L = Lead

Medal summary

Medal table


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's Combined
Women's Combined

See also


  1. ^ a b "IOC approves five new sports for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Olympic News". Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  2. ^ "Olympic Sports : Sport Climbing|The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games". The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  3. ^ "Climbing Officially Approved for 2020 Olympics". Archived from the original on Aug 10, 2019.
  4. ^ "IFSC Proposes Sport Climbing For Toyko 2020 Olympic Games". The British Mountaineering Council. Archived from the original on Aug 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Rock climbing will be a 2020 Olympic sport. Here's what to expect". National Geographic. Archived from the original on Aug 10, 2019.
  6. ^ "Sport climbing is like asking Usain Bolt to run a marathon and then do the hurdles". Archived from the original on Aug 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "Vertical Triathlon: The Future of Climbing in the Olympics". Archived from the original on Aug 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Olympic Committee Unanimously Votes to Include Sport Climbing in Paris 2024 Games". Archived from the original on Jul 4, 2019.
  9. ^ Burgman, John. "A Guide to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Climbing Format". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  10. ^ Qualification System – Games of the XXXII Olympiad – Sport climbing; International Federation of Sport Climbing, 15 March 2018.
  11. ^ "GB Climbing in Hachioji: first step to Tokyo 2020". British Mountaineering Council. Archived from the original on Aug 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "IFSC Climbing World Championships - Hachioji (JPN) 2019". International Federation of Sport Climbing. Archived from the original on Aug 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "Schedule - Sport Climbing Tokyo 2020 Olympics". Olympian Database. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Sport Climbing Competition Schedule". Tokyo 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
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