Home > Indoor Climbing

Sport Climbing Recommended for Los Angeles Olympics

Will the Los Angeles Olympics carry a three-medal Sport Climbing format or will Lead and Boulder remain combined heading out of Paris?

Although the competition season has come to an end, competitive climbing continues to develop. On December 9, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) announced that the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee has recommended Sport Climbing for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Alberto Gines Lopez and Tomoa Narasaki – Photo by Dimitris Tosidis

It will join 27 other sports in the summer event, falling alongside Skateboarding and Surfing as less-traditional, but increasingly recognized Olympic disciplines. The LA28 organising committee endorsed the proposal that now awaits a full IOC Session vote that will take place during the 2022 IOC Session Winter Olympic Games.

Sport Climbing made its successful Olympic debut in Tokyo this past summer with a combined Boulder, Lead, and Speed event. The highly contested format changed to a two-event system in Paris 2024. Speed will now operate as its own category while Boulder and Lead remained combined. This adjustment allows for 68 total climbing athletes up 28 from 40 in this last year’s Games.

This step marks the increasing space climbing has taken in the international sphere and continues to show climbing as a developing discipline. Many will hope for a three-event competition in Los Angeles. While this might strike a better chord with climbing fans, it will be interesting to see whether each of the disciplines can entertain spectators. Paris will act as a trial run of a split format.

Mickael Mawem – Photo by Dimitris Tosidis

With that said, Sport Climbing was the most watched new sport in the Tokyo Games. This could suggest that 2028 may allow enough time for all three disciplines to gain passionate audiences. The most exciting aspect of a three-event Olympics for Sport Climbing could come from the greater number of athletes. Where sports like Swimming and Track receive numerous competitors due to their many disciplines, climbing could stand among them if given the space to grow.

IFSC Athletes’ Commission President and Olympian Shauna Coxsey reflected on the decision.

“The continued presence of Sport Climbing in the Olympic programme for Los Angeles 2028 will continue to introduce the sport I love to new audiences around the world. The Olympics was a life changing experience for me, and I am so pleased that future generations of athletes will be able to compete on the biggest stage and more people will get to share the joys our sport can bring.”

Brooke Raboutou – Photo by Dimitris Tosidis

Featured image of Akiyo Noguchi by Dimitris Tosidis