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Sport climbing has become highly popular over the past two decades.

Sport climbing has become highly popular over the past two decades. In 1985, a group of climbers gathered in Bardonecchia, near Turin, Italy, for an event called “SportRoccia”, which became the first organised lead competition, in which competitors climb within a certain time frame.

Competitions: from rock to climbing walls

The first event on an artificial climbing wall was organised in a gym in Vaulx-en-Velin, near Lyon, France, in 1986.

In the early 1990s, it was decreed that international events would take place on purposely designed infrastructures only, leaving the natural environment without impact. One of the sport’s core values is the preservation of the environment, with climbers bearing responsibility for the upkeep of the settings in which they climb.

Within a few years, the development of climbing walls has contributed to sport climbing’s popularity, making it accessible to all.

According to the International Federation of Sport Climbing website, 25 million people climb on a regular basis (2012 data).

The sport will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Competition rules in Tokyo

There will be 40 athletes in total in Tokyo, evenly split into two groups of 20, competing in three disciplines: bouldering, lead climbing and speed.

Each round will start with the presentation of the athletes, followed by an observation of the routes.

In lead, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring more than 15m in height and 6m overhanging within a fixed time.

In bouldering, the objective is to overcome the most problems on a climbing route in the least number of attempts on 4.5m-high structures over a set period of time. The ranking is decided by the number of problems overcome.


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