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Tokyo 2020 Olympics Officially Approves Climbing

Time to dust off your hangboard: competition climbing will be front and center at the 2020 Olympic games.

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In what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is calling “the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history,” competition climbing is one of five new sports approved for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Additionally, softball/baseball, skateboarding, karate and surfing will be added to the list of competitions.

The approval is the result of a two-year strategic plan to emphasize innovation, flexibility and youth in development of future Olympics programs. According to the original proposal, the Olympic climbing event will necessitate athletes compete in all three competition climbing disciplines—bouldering, speed and lead. A combined score will determine the winners, though how that will be calculated is still undetermined.

Yoshiro Mori, Tokyo 2020 President, stated in a press release, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realize their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world’s greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

Thomas Bach, IOC President, stated in a press release, “Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

Climbers world-wide have expressed their disbelief and excitement for the future of climbing.

Shauna Coxsey wrote on Instagram, “I remember watching the Olympics when I was young. I was always so incredibly inspired by the athletes. It didn’t seem like climbing would become an Olympic during my professional career but it’s official. Today is a historic day for our sport!”

Sasha DiGiulian also posted on Instagram, “It is a historic day and I am so excited for more people to learn about the sport that I am so passionate about and that has made my life what it is today.”

Janja Garnbert wrote too on Instagram, “Big day for a climbing community!!”