MX23RW : Tuesday, June 25 12:22:44| >> :600:147763:147763:

Five things you may not know about sport climbing ahead of Tokyo 2020

Shauna Coxsey will represent Great Britain in the event at this summer's Olympics.

Shauna Coxsey will become the first sport climber to represent Great Britain at the Olympics later this year.

The 27-year-old from Runcorn is a former World Cup winner and a strong medal contender when the sport makes its debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Here, the PA news agency introduces five things you may not have known about sport climbing as it prepares for its big Olympic bow.


Alberto Gotta climbs in the lead semi-finals during the IFSC Climbing World Cup
Alberto Gotta climbs in the lead semi-finals during the IFSC Climbing World Cup (Jane Barlow/PA)

Olympic climbing consists of a combination of three disciplines – speed, bouldering and lead – with medals awarded based on the cumulative placements across each discipline. Speed climbing is a head-to-head elimination on a 12m wall. Bouldering involves the scaling of various routes on a 4m wall. In lead, athletes are given a set time to reach as high up a 12m wall as possible.

Tall order

Most sport climbers specialise in specific disciplines – Coxsey usually competes in bouldering – and have criticised the combined event, particularly the inclusion of speed climbing. Many purists consider it an artificial discipline, and the free-climber Lynn Hill told Climbing Magazine: "It is like asking a middle distance runner to compete in the sprint – speed climbing is a sport within our sport."


Arguably, this will not be the first time climbing has been recognised at the Olympics – nor would Coxsey be the first British climber to win a medal. At the 1924, 1932 and 1936 Games, medals were awarded for alpinism, recognising the most notable feat accomplished over the preceding Games cycle – for example, gold medals were awarded to the participants in the successful 1922 conquest of Mount Everest, led by Briton Charles Granville Bruce. The question of whether these medals qualify as official Olympic titles is still under dispute.


View this post on Instagram

YES!!! Made it to semifinal in 1st position!! Psyched to climb in semifinal tomorrow!!🔥💪  BJC2020予選は、1位で通過することができました!! 昨年の予選敗退のイメージがなかなか消えず、久しぶりにかなり緊張しましたが、身体の調子も良く安定したクライミングをすることが出来ました。  明日も自分らしく全力で頑張ります😁😁  Photo by: @shintaozawa @champion_japan @bpump_ogikubo @frictionlabs @organicclimbing @galaxymobilejp #日新火災 #champion #CPFU #bpumpogikubo #frictionlabs #organicclimbing #galaxy #climbing #bouldering #sportsclimbing #sports #competition #bjc #2020

A post shared by KAI HARADA / 原田 海 / ハラダカイ (@kai_hrd) on

The inclusion of sport climbing in the Games for a first time should benefit hosts Japan. Rising stars Kai Harada and Miho Nonaka won the respective bouldering competitions at the World Beach Games in Qatar last year, and are considered leading contenders. Coxsey ranked 10th in the 2019 Combined World Cup rankings, behind leader and Tokyo favourite Janja Garnbret of Slovenia.

Hitting the heights

According to the Association of British Climbing Walls, over one million people now visit climbing walls in the UK annually. The surge in interest, mirrored across the globe, was recognised by the sport's inclusion in the Olympic programme. Nick Colton of the British Mountaineering Council, the UK sport's governing body, said: "Climbing represents the only basic human movement not yet included in the Olympic Games – it brings the missing vertical dimension to the world's most prestigious sporting event."

ID:389359: cacheID:389359:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:28622:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Sports Mole logo
Read Next:
Shauna Coxsey named as first Team GB climber at Olympics
Read more about Shauna Coxsey Climbing
rhs 2.0
Euro 2024 fixtures header
Tuesday, June 25
Wednesday, June 26
Saturday, June 29
Sunday, June 30
Monday, July 1
Tuesday, July 2
Friday, July 5
Saturday, July 6
Tuesday, July 9
Wednesday, July 10
Sunday, July 14

Sports Mole provides in-depth previews and predictions for every match from the biggest leagues and competitions in world football.
Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after collecting the Golden Ball award on December 18, 2022Sign up for our FREE daily preview newsletter direct to your inbox!