All of you grumblers out there that have been griping for the past two years about the Olympic climbing format (lead, bouldering and speed climbing all bundled into a single event) seem to have made your displeasure heard: Word comes this morning that the Organizing Committee for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris has proposed the inclusion of climbing once again, but has suggested splitting the current Combined format into two distinct events—a combined lead and bouldering competition, and speed as the other.
Should Sport Climbing make the cut for Paris 2024—as is expected—this adjusted format will also mean more medals and more athletes. (“Sport Climbing” is the official term used by the IFSC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to describe any competition climbing; that means lead, bouldering and speed are all Sport Climbing.)
A press release on the IFSC’s website explains the changes that the new proposal would bring: “Paris 2024 plans to enrich the Sport Climbing event in 2024 by expanding from one to two distinct competitions, six to twelve medals and 40 to 72 athletes in total. Under the proposal, 16 women and 16 men would compete for six medals in the Speed discipline; 20 women and 20 men would compete for six medals based on the combination of results in the Bouldering and Lead disciplines.”
But no use counting chickens before they hatch. First, Sport Climbing has to be pitched to the IOC Executive Board in late March. If all goes well there, in late June the IOC will decide whether or not to include climbing—and whether or not this new proposal will be implemented—in Paris in 2024.
Not only is this news sure to please many fans, athletes themselves are already chiming in with their support. “Lots of discussion is sure to follow but I’m super happy we are still growing within the Olympic movement with more medals as well as athletes,” Canadian climber Sean McColl wrote on Instagram. “With Speed being separated from the other two, the specialists in that discipline are sure to flourish.”