Sport Climbing

Sport Climbing

images of Sport Climbing

Olympic Sports

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing makes its Olympic debut, with athletes winning gold thanks to the power and strength in their fingertips.


Sport climbing takes the challenge of scaling steep ascents to a whole new level. Climbers use brightly-coloured hand, finger and foot holds, their climbing skills and all the strength their bodies can muster to work their way up a near-vertical wall.

The sport will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and will feature three disciplines: Speed, Bouldering and Lead. Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a fixed route on a 15-metre wall. In Bouldering, climbers scale a number of fixed routes on a 4m wall in a specified time. In Lead, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring over 15m in height within a fixed time. At the Games, each climber will compete in all three disciplines, and the final rankings will be determined by multiplying the placement in each discipline, with the athletes with the lowest scores winning medals.

In some disciplines, climbers attach safety ropes; however, no other equipment is permitted and competitors must climb using only their bare hands and climbing shoes. The sport requires strength, flexibility and skill together with careful advance planning: the first ever medallists will all possess this unique combination of physical and mental capability and decisiveness.

International Federation:International Federation of Sport Climbing(Open in a new window)

Event Programme

  • Bouldering, Lead & Speed Combined (Men/Women)


Three disciplines, one goal

A variety of techniques are required for success in sport climbing:

Sports Climber

• Speed
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. 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.

• Bouldering
In Bouldering, climbers scale as many fixed routes on a 4m-high wall as they can within four minutes. 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 holds so small that they can only be held by the fingertips. Climbers must plan each move carefully, thinking about which hand and which 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
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 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 to the fore.

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 climb site before their turn and given just a few minutes to examine the wall and the routes prior to starting.



The shoes used in sport climbing are very different from those worn for other sports. In which ways?


A:They are extremely tight
even to the extent that the toes curl up. When putting on their shoes, climbers squeeze their feet in so tightly to make it easier for them to cling on to holds on the wall with their toes. Also, the soles of the shoes are very soft with an extremely good grip to prevent sliding.

As of 1 Dec. 2018

Competition Venues

  • Aomi Urban Sports Park

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports