climbing olympic games 2020

The 2020 Olympic Qualification Process

Giving Climbers Everywhere Headaches

Climbing will be in the Olympic games for the first time in 2020. It will be split into 3 disciplines. Sport Climbing, Bouldering and Speed Climbing. There are 20 places for women, and 20 places for men up for grabs but the qualification process is quite complex. Therefore here we have tried to break it down for you.

Hachioji, Japan

11th - 21st August 2019

The first selection event will take place in Hachioji, Japan in august at the end of the world championships. Climbers will have competed in bouldering world championships, sport climbing world championships and speed climbing world championships. Consequently the climbers results for each discipline will be multiplied together to give an over all score.

For example…

Boulder championships


Lead Climbing championships


Speed Climbing championships


2nd X 6th X 11th

Total Score


The top 20 climbers will then go on to compete in the selection event where they will face one day of back to back disciplines from which 8 will be selected to compete in the final where they will do all three back to back disciplines at the end of which 7 athletes will be selected for the Olympics.

Phew! Got all that? Ok next…

Toulouse, France

28th Nov - 1st Dec 2019

The next selection event will take place in Toulouse, France 28th November – 1 December 2019.

Again we are looking at the top 20 list but we take out the climbers that were already selected in Hachioji. However, unlike the event in Hachioji where we had individual disciplines, this will be a combined only event and 6 athletes will be chosen at the end of it.

So we now have 13 Women and 13 Men selected. How do we get the remaining athletes?

Continental Championships


One woman and one man will be selected from each continental championship. Europe, Pan America, Asia, Africa and Oceana. That gives us 5 more of each.

Nearly there…


The Hosts

Japan are guaranteed a place for one woman and one man. Perks of hosting. Maybe we’ll see our favorite Akiyo Noguchi

And finally…

The Wildcard

The chosen one

One woman and one man will be selected by the Olympic committee. They cannot have qualified by any other means and must have made the world championship event at Hachioji 2019.

Just to throw a spanner in the works…

Only 2 women and 2 men from any given nation can compete in the Olympic Games which introduces a whole host of computations that will boggle your mind. We’ll leave that one with you.

Check out this awesome video below where Shauna Coxsey, Britain’s no.1 explains this process much more clearly than we ever could. See more about Shauna in this Guardian Article on Shauna Coxsey