Australia and Sport Climbing
There are over 300,000 Australians climbing at indoor Sport Climbing gyms around the country.
The total number of competitive climbers registered with Sport Climbing Australia has tripled in the past seven years, and there are now approximately 1,200 competition climbing members, with the sport steadily growing at competitive and amateur levels.
Australia has had a few World Cup finalists over the years in the boulder discipline.
The first to make this level was Samantha Berry. Berry was the Australian Champion for six years, the Asian X Games winner three times, and a four-time Oceania Cup title holder.
James Kassay, the current National Boulder Champion, and Chris Webb-Parsons have also made World Cup finals, along with Oceania Mackenzie - Oceania is the youngest Australian to have done so.
In the sport’s debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Australia’s Tom O'Halloran and Oceania Mackenzie placed top-20 in their individual events – the men’s and women’s combined event.
After first appearing at Tokyo 2020, Sport Climbing remains on the Olympic programme for Paris 2024.
In Sport Climbing, athletes compete in three disciplines: lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games each climber was required to compete in all three disciplines, with the final ranking determined by the combined results of the three disciplines.
At Paris 2024, for the first time in Olympic history, the three disciplines have been split up into two events - speed, plus boulder and lead.
Speed climbing is a sprint race where athletes climb a fixed route on a 15-metre wall with holds. Climbers are informed in advance about the arrangement of the holds and the climber with the fastest time wins. The speed competition will consist of two (2) phases held over two (2) days for each category: one qualifying phase and one final phase. Of the 14 athletes competing at the start of the competition, only the top eight (8) from the qualifying phase (the fastest) advance to the final phase.
Lead climbing is a height and distance competition within an eight-minute time frame. Athletes climb a fixed course on an overhanging wall. The further along the wall they travel, the more difficult the course becomes and therefore the aim is to cover the longest distance without falling off, or in the specific time frame.
In bouldering, athletes climb fixed routes on a wall between 4-5 metres high. A round includes four or five sets of boulder problems/walls and climbers have a fixed amount of time to attempt each wall. Competitors are ranked by the number of walls they complete within the timeframe, with ties settled by the total number of attempts taken to solve the walls. Therefore, since climbers may keep trying to climb each route as long as it is within the time frame, it is important to climb in the least number of attempts as possible.
The boulder & lead competition will consist of two (2) phases held over four (4) days for each category: one semi-final phase and one final phase. The ranking is based on a system of points obtained in each discipline. Of the 20 athletes competing at the start of the competition, only the top eight (8) from the semi-finals (those with the most points for boulder and lead) advance to the final.
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