Climbing Officially Approved for 2020 Olympics

Receive $50 off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you'll find gear for all your adventures outdoors. Sign up for Outside+ today.


It’s official. Climbers will compete for gold in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Today the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a package of new events including baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, climbing, and surfing. The decision was based on a desire to appeal to a young audience.

“We want to take sport to the youth,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us. We have to go to them.”

The climbing event will include three disciplines: sport, bouldering, and speed. 40 climbers (20 men and 20 women) will compete over four days, and the medalists will be chosen based on the combined results of all three disciplines.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has been pushing to put climbing in the Olympics for years. The sport was initially considered but then passed over for the Tokyo Games in a 2013 decision. Climbing got a second chance when a new program allowed the host country to propose sports with broad local and international appeal. Climbing was included on the original list of 26 sports that applied, and then made each cut as the group was whittled down to the final remaining five that have been added to the games.

“We are so happy that Sport Climbing will be participating in the Games of Tokyo,” said IFSC President Marco Scolaris. “The Olympics have been our dream for quite some time, and now the hard work has finally paid off. We would like to thank the IOC for extending a truly unique opportunity to our sport.”