The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that sport climbing is one of five new sports to feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, along with karate, skate boarding, surfing, and baseball/softball.
The announcement comes as a result of a successful proposal submitted by the International Federation for Sport Climbing (IFSC), a non-profit organisation whose main objective is to develop and promote climbing competitions around the world.
The BMC/Climb Britain is the IFSC member federation for Great Britain. They have supported the development of the proposals that the IFSC put to the International Olympic Committee.
Now the decision has been taken, sport climbing is eligible for UK Sport investment. This includes access to funding for athletes to train full time, and investment in infrastructure such as climbing facilities, coaches, physios, and events.
The selection process is to be developed and will be presented in March 2017. Selection for the Olympic team would offer athletes the opportunity to represent their country and be recognised at the highest level.
Athletes will be required to compete in the three disciplines of sport climbing – speed, lead, and boulder – which perfectly mirror the Olympic motto ‘Faster, higher, stronger.’ Although this is not how our athletes have tradtionally trained, the format is designed to balance out the strengths across different countries and teams.
There’s a long way to go, but as the Rio 2016 Olympics begin, members of the GB climbing team may already have their eyes on the prize. The contenders will surely include Shauna Coxsey, our Gold medal boulderer (photo from Band of Birds), Molly Thompson-Smith, lead climber, and Fran Brown world para climbing champion.
We are already entering the four year training cycle, it’s going to be exciting to see where this new direction for sport climbing takes us…