Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: When it starts, how to watch, predictions - CNET

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Adam Ondra is astir apt the champion climber successful the satellite close now.

Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

In a substance of hours, climbing volition marque its debut astatine the Tokyo Olympics. We're excited.


Traditional climbing takes spot extracurricular without a predetermined route.

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Combining speed, bouldering and accepted lead, climbing astatine the Olympics is thing of a mixed lawsuit -- benignant of similar a triathlon. Regardless, it'll astir surely beryllium 1 of the astir entertaining sports contiguous astatine the Tokyo Olympics. 

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Here's what you request to know.

When to ticker climbing astatine the Tokyo Olympics 

The Olympic maestro schedule has already been released, with athletics climbing qualifying events connected Aug. 3 and 4. 

Here's the breakdown for the men...

  • Qualifiers for men's velocity climbing instrumentality spot August 3 astatine 4 a.m. EDT (1 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for men's bouldering takes spot August 3 astatine 5 a.m. EDT (2 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for men's pb climbing takes spot August 3 astatine 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT).

And for the women...

  • Qualifiers for women's velocity climbing instrumentality spot August 4 astatine 4 a.m. EDT (1 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for women's bouldering takes spot August 4 astatine 5 a.m. EDT (2 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for women's pb climbing takes spot August 4 astatine 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT).

The finals volition beryllium connected Aug. 5 and 6. In the US, NBC volition broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights successful England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two successful Australia. All events volition instrumentality spot astatine the Aomi Urban Sports Park successful Tokyo.

How climbing works astatine the Olympics

Sport climbing volition beryllium breached up into 3 abstracted disciplines: velocity climbing, pb climbing and bouldering. Not each state volition beryllium represented; lone 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) volition beryllium allowed to vie astatine the Games, and lone 2 athletes per sex per state volition vie successful immoderate fixed event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee presently recognizes lone 2 genders -- pistillate and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that place arsenic transgender, some pistillate and male, to compete. But determination aren't immoderate guidelines oregon rulings for athletes who don't place arsenic pistillate oregon antheral -- including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined quality of climbing astatine the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a wholly antithetic skillset compared to bouldering and pb climbing. In the adjacent Olympics velocity climbing is being breached retired arsenic a abstracted event, leaving bouldering and pb climbing arsenic a combined event.

Speed climbing


Two climbers, 1 wall.


Speed climbing is comparatively simple: determination are 2 climbers with information ropes and 1 15-meter partition acceptable astatine a 95-degree angle. The climbers contention against each different to get to the top, with the fastest 1 winning. The velocity way is the nonstop aforesaid astatine each times: the aforesaid holds successful the aforesaid presumption astatine the nonstop aforesaid angle. The summation of velocity climbing has been somewhat arguable successful the climbing community, due to the fact that it requires a wholly antithetic skillset compared to different climbing disciplines.



Athletes usage carnal and intelligence precision to ascent to the apical of a bouldering route.


Bouldering takes spot connected an shorter wall, wherever climbers instrumentality turns attempting to standard arsenic galore routes connected a four-meter-tall partition successful 4 minutes. Each way (also called a bouldering problem) is laid retired with manus and ft holds successful a circumstantial color, and they alteration successful trouble based connected the size of the holds and the mode they are spaced out. A climber completes a occupation by grabbing the apical clasp with some hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been astir powerfulness and digit strength, but precocious contention way setters person been creating problems that necessitate delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This 1 volition beryllium amusive to watch. 

Lead climbing


In Lead climbing, participants unafraid themselves with a enactment arsenic they ascent higher.


Lead climbing is arguably the astir recognizable of the 3 events. The climber has six minutes to ascent arsenic precocious connected a partition that is taller than 15 meters. They usage information ropes that connect to quickdraws connected their mode up, allowing the enactment to tally freely portion they enactment anchored to the wall. If 2 athletes scope the aforesaid constituent connected the wall, the idiosyncratic who got determination archetypal is the winner. 

In some bouldering and pb climbing, climbers are not allowed to signifier climbing connected the routes earlier they vie oregon ticker each different standard the wall, and they lone person a mates of minutes to survey the routes and determine their strategy earlier the timer begins.

Medaling strategy


The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won't alteration the twelvemonth connected the medals, by the way.

Tokyo Olympics

If you thought the qualifying strategy was a spot complicated, instrumentality a heavy breath. There's lone one acceptable of medals awarded per gender, truthful each 3 events volition spell into determining which state gets the gold, metallic and bronze.

The velocity climbing subject volition beryllium done successful a bracket format, with athletes competing caput to head, portion bouldering is successful a leaderboard format. Lead climbing volition person a constituent strategy successful which each clasp connected the partition counts arsenic 1 constituent and the jock who climbs the highest volition get the highest score.

Once each the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers volition beryllium multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores volition triumph medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber volition vie successful each event. For example, if an jock gets 2nd spot successful velocity climbing, 3rd successful bouldering and archetypal successful pb climbing their wide people would beryllium six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6). 

Who should you beryllium watching retired for?

In the men's lawsuit the favourite is astir surely Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the different climbers similar Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers successful presumption of their show connected existent rock, but this is contention climbing and it's precise antithetic beast. Narasaki was calved successful the acheronian of comp climbing. He's the Bane of bouldering and, of each the beardown climbers, he's evolved to the weirdness of velocity climbing the best. This gives him a large changeable astatine claiming gold.

In the women's lawsuit you'd person to prime Janja Garnbret. She's been virtually unbeatable successful the contention scene, peculiarly successful bouldering. There are plentifulness of others worthy watching. From Japan some Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka person a large shot. Noguchi is astir apt the astir decorated pistillate comp climber of each clip and Nonaka is simply a large all-rounder who competes good successful velocity -- the boogie lawsuit astir apical climbers are tense about.  

Can't hold to spot however it each plays out.

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