Climbing Passes Major Hurdle on Road to 2020 Olympics

Olympic Committee supports five new sports

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This week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board supported a proposal to add five new sports to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Climbing, skateboarding, surfing, baseball/softball, and karate are all in the package under consideration. The final decision will be made in August, when the IOC meets in Rio de Janeiro.

“The package promotes gender equality, with each of the five sports having equal numbers of teams for men and women, while also focusing on innovative and exciting sports for Japan and the wider international community,” said the IOC in a statement.

If the proposal passes, 18 events and 474 athletes will be added to the 2020 Games. According to The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), 40 climbers (20 men and 20 women) would compete in three disciplines: sport, bouldering, and speed. The events would take place over four days, and the medalists would be chosen based on the combined results of all three disciplines.

Climbing was initially rejected from the 2020 Olympics in 2013. However, a new program allows 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 has since made each cut as the group was whittled down to the final remaining five.

This decision will only affect the Tokyo Games, as the host city’s selections are not binding on future Games hosts.

In a statement, IFSC president Maria Scolaris expressed her enthusiasm:

“We are very pleased to reach a new step and are looking forward to the final hold of our unbelievable climb.”