Ticket to Tokyo: Sport Climbing clears hurdle toward 2020 Olympics

Posted by Tina Gardner on 28/09/2015

A new era for Sport Climbing has begun, as it is proposed as a new sport for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel.

The BMC will be supporting the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) as it continues to promote Sport Climbing, ahead of the International Olympic Committee's final decision in August 2016.  

18 additional events in 5 sports proposed to @Olympics for #Tokyo2020. Full list: http://t.co/zcc2nvKPrW pic.twitter.com/QrHASgHPnV

— Tokyo 2020 (@Tokyo2020) September 28, 2015

What's proposed?

Two of the 18 new events proposed are Sport Climbing events. Ths would see a combined event of bouldering, lead and speed for both men and women. The number athletes able to compete will be 20 men and 20 women.

The 18 proposed events are:

Sports Events (Proposal) No of Events No of Athletes (total)
Baseball / Softball Baseball (M) 1 144 (6 teams x 24 athletes)
Softball (W) 1 90 (6 teams x 15 athletes)
Karate Kata (W / M) 2 20 (10 W / 10 M)
Kumite (3 weight classes - W / M) 6 60 (30 W / 30 M)
Skateboard Street (W / M) 2 40 (20 W / 20 M)
Park (W / M) 2 40 (20 W / 20 M)
Sports Climbing Bouldering, Lead and Speed Combined (W / M) 2 40 (20 W / 20 M)
Surfing Shortboard (W / M) 2 40 (20 W / 20 M)
Total 18 474
 

WATCH: Climb2020 – The Olympic Opportunity on BMC TV:

An honor and a recognition

IFSC President Marco Scolaris says: “It is a great honor to have been chosen. We thank the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel for this fantastic opportunity and the recognition within the Olympic Movement. Of course, there is still a long way to go, and all of us at the IFSC are deeply committed to meeting the challenges ahead. Together with our athletes and the National Federations, we are reaching new heights”.

It is recognition of the tremendous growth of Sport Climbing in recent years. Worldwide, the sport counted 25 million climbers in 2013, while in 2015, figures are estimated to have grown to 35 million. Around 50% are under 25 years of age, thanks to the latest trend of urban/action sports.

BMC Competitions Officer Rob Adie commented: “Japan has a strong climbing heritage and some fantastic talented climbers on the world cup circuit at the moment, so it's great news that they have nominated Sports Climbing to be part of their 2020 Olympic Games! Hopefully the IOC will agree with Japan's support for our sport and ratify their nomination at Rio next summer and then we can get on the road to 2020!”

A perfect reflection of the Olympic values

On 7-8 August, the IFSC and JMA (Japanese Mountaineering Association) representatives met the Tokyo 2020 Additional Event Programme Panel and joined forces to show that Sport Climbing perfectly embodies the Olympic Movement and its core values, as well as its youth appeal and popularity in the Japanese society.

Sport Climbing can be practiced anywhere. It’s a worldwide sport with enthusiasts in a huge number of countries. It’s a sport for the young, popular and also good for developing strength, flexibility and analytical skills. As a competitive sport, events can be held in spectacular venues for breathtaking shows, inciting intense emotions in the spectators. Last but not least, it represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games. Sport Climbing brings the missing vertical dimension to the world’s most prestigious sport event.

A bright future for Sport Climbing in Japan

Recent years have seen an impressive growth of climbing gyms in Japan. The country is fostering a lively and vibrant climbing community and several world-class athletes, in both senior and youth categories.

“Now more than ever, we are convinced that Sport Climbing would be the perfect complement to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program, and be a source of inspiration to the 500,000 Japanese climbers and all the spectators who will discover this sport in real conditions” says Yagihara Kunio, JMA President.

Preparing for the next step

The IFSC is fully dedicated to the next steps that will take us up to the final decision at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.

Until then, the IFSC will continue to work with the athletes and national federations to prove the solidity of this choice.


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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