Sport Climbing at Tokyo 2020
After months of will it won’t it happen, the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 is here, and with it brings the debut appearance of Sport Climbing.
So, a few things to clarify before we go any further…
- Yes, it is referred to as Sport Climbing, so when searching for the coverage or other information ensure to search for this
- Yes, it is a combined medal, so all three disciplines of Bouldering, Lead and Speed Climbing
- Yes, we do have a GB athlete, Shauna Coxsey taking part
How will it work?
Three disciplines, one goal
A variety of techniques are required for success in the combined formats of sport climbing at Tokyo 2020:
Two climbers secure safety ropes to themselves and attempt to scale a 15m-high wall, set at an angle of 95 degrees, faster than their opponent on identical routes. Winning times for men’s events tend to be around the five to six-second mark, while women’s events are usually won in around seven or eight seconds. A false start results in instant disqualification.
In Bouldering, athletes climb as many fixed routes as they can within four minutes, on a 4.5m-high wall equipped with safety mats. The routes vary in difficulty and climbers are not permitted to practise climbing them in advance. When a climber grabs the final hold at the top of a route with both hands, they are deemed to have completed it. Climbers tackle the wall without safety ropes and can try a route again if they fall during their initial attempt.
The walls used for bouldering present a range of challenges, with overhangs and some holds so small that they can only be held by the fingertips. Climbers must plan each move carefully, thinking about which hand and foot to place in the next holds, while constantly being aware of the time limit. The physical and mental dexterity required for success is extraordinary.
Lead involves athletes attempting to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15m in height within six minutes. The climbers use safety ropes and attach the rope to quickdraws (equipment that allows the rope to run freely while leading) along the route. When a climber attaches their rope to the top quickdraw, they have completed the climb. If a climber falls, the height (hold number) attained is recorded. There are no re-climbs.
If two or more athletes complete the climb or reach exactly the same height, the fastest to do so is declared the winner. This is a demanding whole-body activity and dynamic climbing techniques are greatly important.
To prevent athletes gaining an advantage from watching others scaling the bouldering and lead climbing walls before them, each climber is kept away from the climbing wall before their turn and given just a few minutes to examine the wall and routes prior to starting.
*text taken from https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/sports/sport-climbing/
There are 40 athletes from 28 countries competing at this years Olympics. Full details of the competitors, including our very own Shauna Coxsey, can be found on the IFSC Olympics page along with the full schedule for the Sport Climbing coverage at the games.
Competition Schedule and how to watch
Click here to watch on the BBC, with GB climbing team member Molly Thompson-Smith and Routesetter Mike Langley. We will also be streaming the live events at our sites throughout the below days.
TUESDAY 3 AUGUST
9:00 – 9:35 MEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – SPEED
10:00 – 12:15 MEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – BOULDER
13:10 – 14:40 MEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – LEAD
WEDNESDAY 4 AUGUST
9:00 – 9:35 WOMEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – SPEED
10:00 – 12:15 WOMEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – BOULDER
13:10 – 14:40 WOMEN’S COMBINED: QUALIFICATION – LEAD
THURSDAY 5 AUGUST
9:30 – 9:55. MEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – SPEED
10:30 – 12:00 MEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – BOULDER
13:10 – 14:00 MEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – LEAD
14:10 – 14:20 MEN’S COMBINED: VICTORY CEREMONY
FRIDAY 6 AUGUST
9:30 – 9:55. WOMEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – SPEED
10:30 – 12:00 WOMEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – BOULDER
13:10 – 14:00 WOMEN’S COMBINED: FINAL – LEAD
14:10 – 14:20 WOMEN’S COMBINED: VICTORY CEREMONY