Beside the skyscrapers of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and lush trees of its Urban Park, 42 Youth Olympians representing 25 nations and five continents opened a new chapter in our Olympic story last year. Young game changers rose to high expectations and forever changed the Olympic world with the vertical dimension. Speed, strength and endurance at high heights captivated the next generation of climbers and painted a picture of Olympic climbing for one global climbing community.
The sun has set on our debut at the Youth Olympic Games, but another one rises as the climb to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and a permanent Olympic bid continues in 2019. Already, 12 of the best Sport Climbing athletes in the world displayed their skills in the first Combined finals of the longest IFSC World Championships. 10 days of unforgettable, nearly-nonstop competition climbing in Innsbruck, Austria, proved dedication to improvement in all-around excellence. In the IFSC World Cup series, 75 athletes competed in two or more events in all three disciplines, and participation in Speed increased by 88% to the highest level in IFSC history.
Supported by dedicated IFSC partners Entre-Prises, Kailas, Luxov and welcome additions Japan Airlines and Perfect Descent, the continued rapid growth of our sport proves that it is an alternative activity to people of various backgrounds and abilities, especially urban youth. Thanks to new broadcasting deals and live delivery, young people worldwide are discovering Sport Climbing for the first time. 30 broadcasters covered the event in Innsbruck alone. Final rounds were live televised on Eurosport and aired as live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, a partnership with NBCUniversal. Monthly highlights of IFSC events were distributed to broadcasters reaching 140 nations and five continents. Online, IFSC videos on YouTube were viewed 7.7 million times, visits of the IFSC mobile website surpassed desktop visits, and the hip platform of Instagram remained the fastest growing IFSC social media outlet.
Our sport is for all, including disadvantaged individuals and people with disabilities. The IFSC renewed its commitment to the growth of Paraclimbing in 2018. The Paraclimbing Cup in Briançon was live streamed and 139 athletes competed for gold medals in Innsbruck across 12 categories, with host broadcaster ORF showcasing the final rounds. International media such as Inside the Games reported on the performances of Paraclimbing athletes throughout the season, a testament to their power to inspire. Additionally, the IFSC appointed a Paraclimbing Development Officer in 2018. The shape of our future is now taking form.
At home, IFSC staff and officials evolved alongside the developments of climbing and sport. Passionate women now comprise 70% of IFSC full-time staff, and more women joined the routesetting and officiating teams making IFSC events possible. A working group formed to advise IFSC governance, together with the Ethics Commission, accelerating our journey. Our mission in 2019 is to continue to develop Sport Climbing on all five continents to allow younger generations to participate in an exciting, affordable and healthy sport, to keep building a tool for positive social change and making the world a better place.
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