Climbing became an Olympic sport in 1894, the year the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded. While the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will feature indoor climbing, the original prize was for alpinism.

The first Olympic medals to be given handed to climbers was in 1924, to members of General Bruce’s expedition for their attempt on Mount Everest. German brothers Franz and Tony Schmidt received the next Olympic Alpine Prize, for their first ascent of the Matterhorn’s North Face. In 1936, Gunter and Mrs Dyenfurth won the award for their Himalayan exploration.

In September 1946, the IOC agreed to drop the Alpinism Prize. However, Reinhold Messner and Jerzy Kukuczka were awarded silver medals at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games for successfully summiting each of the 14 8,000-meter peaks. In 2012, Kenton Cool carried an Olympic gold medal to the summit of Mount Everest to fulfill a promise made by the 1924 medal winners.

Kenton Cool with the Olympic medal

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