Standing at the base of the Olympic climbing wall in Tokyo, President of the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Marco Scolaris today convened a conference call with representatives of over 50 Member Federations.

“Years of passion led us here,”  Scolaris said, on the eve of Sport Climbing’s historic Olympic debut from 3-6 August at Tokyo 2020.

Under normal circumstances, most of the people on the call would have been in Tokyo for the Games, but the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept spectators out of the venues has also forced the Sport Climbing community to largely follow the action from their homes.

Scolaris addressed the many sacrifices the Olympic Movement, together with the people of Japan, have had to make just to stage the XXXII Olympiad. And while Climbing’s Olympic debut may not be taking place under ideal circumstances, “at the end of the day, our passion remains the same, and passion lives here today and is driving us,” Scolaris said. “Passion is taking us now to our walls, to our climbs.”

Joining the IFSC President at the Aomi Urban Sports Park were IFSC Vice President Kobinata Toru and IFSC Secretary General Debra Gawrych. It is a proud moment for all three senior figures of the organisation, but perhaps particularly significant for Vice President Toru as he will witness the Climbing’s debut in his home country.

As the meeting progressed, those joining had the opportunity to see athletes scaling the walls as part of the second unofficial training session.

In addition to updating the members on activities since their last virtual gathering on 26 June, Scolaris outlined the initiatives that have been put in place by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) to provide the best possible television coverage for viewers around the world. They include augmented reality and a Digital Fan Engagement suite that will bring reactions from friends, families, and fans to the athletes in Tokyo.

“In addition to that,” Scolaris said “Sport Climbing will be the only sport at the Games to benefit from innovative Virtual 3D Graphics that will take the sport to a whole new level. To help audiences understand the challenges faced by the athletes and get insight into how they solve problems, computer-generated graphics will enrich the coverage of Sport Climbing.”

He also introduced the members of the IFSC team that are on the ground bringing the competition to life and those that didn’t travel but are providing significant support for the operations remotely.

The IFSC President shared some rousing final words, encouraging everyone to play their part in making the Sport Climbing event at Tokyo 2020 a success by supporting the athletes from afar.

“This is the time to take a deep breath, look up, and climb … higher, stronger, and faster – together. Join us in spirit, make the athletes feel your cheer, let us share the passion. May our community, our people join together and pack the Aomi Urban Park, on the screens, in the air.

“Climbers without a disability and climbers with a disability. The old and the young, women and men, those who climb 5.6 or IV+, and those who flash 5.14 or 8c. The climbers who climb the mountains. From sea to summit, all the climbing world, united.”

The Sport Climbing competition gets under way at 5:00 PM (UTC+9:00) on Tuesday, 3 August. For the full schedule and results, click here.

210731 IFSC News Climbing community gather virtually on the eve of historic Olympic debutThe Olympic climbing wall at the Aomi Urban Sports Park
Photo: Leo Zhokov/IFSC

Tokyo 2020

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