Six Youth Olympians were awarded the first medals for Sport Climbing in an Olympic context last week, a historic victory for Sport Climbing and the climax of multiple memorable moments in Buenos Aires.
Keita Dohi and Vita Lukan’s power and poise in Bouldering, Sandra Lettner and Shuta Tanaka’s gravity-defying ascents in Lead and Sam Avezou and Laura Lammer’s tight finishes in Speed; none of the magical climbing would have been possible without the behind-the-scenes teams and structural foundation. Focusing on strict quality standards and teamwork with route setters, long-time IFSC partner ENTRE-PRISES (EP) provided all three of the Bouldering, Lead and Speed climbing walls used at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, the focal points of the Urban Park venue which immediately caught the eye as they towered beside skyscrapers and surrounding greenery. The first Olympic climbing walls will continue to be a stage for the development of Sport Climbing in Argentina and South America, extending the legacy of the sport’s first Youth Olympic Games beyond 2018.
“We are proud to be an Official Provider of Buenos Aires 2018, to have made possible the fantastic performances of the very best youth Sport Climbing athletes in the world and to have embodied the urban, youthful atmosphere of these Youth Olympic Games and shared values of our sport with our climbing walls. The Olympic journey doesn’t stop here, and we are excited to keep bringing over 30 years of experience on the climb together,” says EP CEO Eric Surdej.
In an Olympic first, an even number of men and women athletes competed in Buenos Aires, including 21 men and 21 women Sport Climbing athletes from 25 countries and 5 continents, already game changers. Athlete Role Models Charlotte Durif and Josh Levin also represented Sport Climbing throughout the event, and Durif presented during the 1st Olympism in Action Forum, which focused on using sport for good.
"Modern trends and challenges were discussed in my working zone with athletes and researchers from around the world of different sport backgrounds, and I was delighted to contribute the unique perspective of Sport Climbing as a young, urban, accessible sport with sustainability in its roots,” says Durif.
Before the last climber returned to the ground, IOC President Thomas Bach watched the final round alongside IFSC President Marco Scolaris, IFSC Vice-President Sport/Events Kobinata Toru, IFSC Secretary General Debra Gawrych, Durif and Levin and Argentina’s own Valentina Aguado, who placed 9th.
“It’s a gold medal for the athletes, but it’s also a gold medal for Sport Climbing and the IFSC family,” says Scolaris. “We have long been working towards the Olympic Dream, and this end is just the beginning. The climb to Tokyo and a permanent Olympic bid is on.”
The Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires concludes with the Closing Ceremony today, October 18th, LIVE at ifsc-climbing.org at 19:30 GMT-3 (local time). Links to all the Olympic Channel replays can be found here.