As you should be made aware, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is a massive breakthrough for climbers across the globe as the competitive side of climbing has been added to the list of approved sports for this year’s Olympics. With an incredible lineup of climbers from the Central Europe, the U.S. and Japan itself. It’s quite an interesting setup for scoring so let’s walk through it.
Competitors in the 2020 Olympics will be met with all three disciplines of the sport; bouldering, sport and speed climbing. The three will test strength, endurance and, of course, speed. What makes the Olympics such a unique competition compared to the typical USAC sanctioned event is the inclusion of a score multiplier. By forcing qualified competitors to compete in all three divisions, each climber’s rank in the events will be multiplied by their other scores. If Adam Ondre’s incredible sport climbing ability lands him first place, his bouldering ranks him at third but his lack of experience in speed leaves him in seventh place, his score will be 21 and will be in good spirits (1 x 3 x 7 = 21).
Many climbers aren’t comfortable with the format as they specialize in their respective disciplines but the introduction of the sport is relatively new and not much distinction can be expected from such a narrow playing field. Only 40 climbers will be competing, 2 athletes per gender from each participating country. With so few competitors, a lot needs to be accomplished with little resources.
Given the incredible competition scene available for all climbers to watch this summer, I personally can’t see these technical details getting in the way of an enjoyable Olympics but I do await the day that climbing gets its full spotlight on the world stage. Winter Olympics will surely highlight the incredible ice climbers of the world, giving us another chance to see how the competitive scene will change over four years.
Until then, keep watching for updates on this incredible opportunity to see the world’s best climbers go head-to-head in the most wicked competition climbers will witness to date.
Peter – Club Climbing President