Born in Torino, Italy, in 1958, climber Marco Maria Scolaris turned his passion for the mountains into his profession, becoming a journalist and photographer. Involved in Sport Climbing since the first organised Lead competition, SportRoccia, in 1985, Scolaris was also among the founding members of FASI (the Italian Sport Climbing Federation: Federazione Arrampicata Sportiva Italiana) in 1988, acting as its Sport Director for 10 years. On the International competition scene, he became a Judge as well as a trainer for new Judges and, having attended over 40 international events as an Official, Scolaris was one of the leaders in the development of climbing competitions within the UIAA. In 2007, with a vision to further shape the future of Sport Climbing and in agreement with the UIAA, Scolaris created a new International Federation to govern the sport: the IFSC. Elected IFSC President in 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017, Marco Scolaris is working to lead Sport Climbing to a youthful and urban future. Securing Sport Climbing’s presence at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Scolaris is now guiding the sport onwards and upwards to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and beyond.
Debbie Gawrych is the Secretary General of the IFSC. She has served in that position for almost eight years after joining the IFSC Management Committee in 2004. Debbie began her Sport Climbing management positions as a volunteer coordinator for the Junior Climbing Competition Association (JCCA) in the USA, working her way up to the role of President of USA Climbing from 2003-2006. She served as the IFSC Vice-President of Finance for two terms before her current second term as Secretary General. Debbie is an active athlete and in addition to climbing has competed in running, triathlons and tennis. Her experience in business (MBA and currently a Leadership Management Consultant) as well as competitive sports has helped her work with the IFSC staff and Executive Board to elevate the organisation and professionalism of the IFSC as a whole. Beginning in 2019, Debbie has begun to work more closely with the Strategic aspects of the IFSC; creating a global Strategic Plan from 2019-2025, and improving strategic and operational functions of key areas working alongside the staff in Marketing & Communications, Membership, Governance and Administration.
Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1967, Kobinata started climbing in his teenage years, travelling the world in search of new crags and challenges. Having competed at a domestic level, Kobinata began his climbing career as a Routesetter in the 1990’s, acting also as a Judge and manager of the Japanese National Youth Team. Involved with the Japan Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Association (JMSCA) since the nineties, Kobinata was elected Vice-President of the IFSC Asian Council 2013-2017, was a proud member of the IFSC 2020 bidding team, and is now IFSC Vice-President of Sport and Events. Kobinata is also Vice-President of the Japan Urban Sports Support Committee (JUSC). Aside from climbing, Kobinata graduated with a degree in Economics from Yokohama City University and owns his own business.
Based in Munich, Germany, Wolfgang is currently Managing Director of Climbing and Mountain Sports at the Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) (German Alpine Club). With a sporting background, Wolfgang has a Master’s in Sport Management and a PhD in Sport Science. After attending the UIAA PA in 1998 on behalf of the DAV, Wolfgang acted as a delegate and then member of the Management Committee of organisations engaged in international Sport Climbing. As President and one of the founding members of the IFSC European Council, Wolfgang’s role encompasses the strategy and structural development of Sport Climbing in Europe and as such, Wolfgang is the European Continental Council representative on the IFSC Executive Board. Wolfgang feels that the inclusion of Sport Climbing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the crowning achievement of efforts made by the IFSC and its Member Federations.
Born in France, Pierre has been climbing for more than 40 years and is retired (engineer transport-operations of French railways). He has been successively vice-president (1999-2001), treasurer (2001-2005), and president (2005-2021) of the French Mountain and Climbing Federation (FFME). He was responsible for organising major championships in Paris, the 2008 European Championships and then the World Championships in 2012 and 2016. He was elected for eight years (2009-2017) to the board of directors at the French National Olympic Committee. He wishes to put his experience at the service of the IFSC so that it develops for the benefit of Sport Climbing.
George Stainton was born in Zambia before moving to South Africa at a young age. He is an experienced Sports Administrator who sits on the South African National Climbing Federation (SANCF) Executive Board, is the President of the African Continental Council and is an elected member of the SASCOC Brand Marketing, Commercialisation & Communication Commission.
He has a passion for many sports, specifically Sport Climbing, rugby, football, mountain biking, and canoeing. Growing up on a farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, he spent many days hiking in the Drakensberg, competitively paddling on the Tugela, Umkomaas and Umgeni Rivers, and climbing in the Howick Falls Gorge. On the professional side he was in property and retail management for over a third of his career before becoming a stadium and rights management specialist in 2000. As CEO of Ellis Park Stadium, he formed part of the successful SAFA Bid Committee presenting to FIFA for the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was a SAFA delegate at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Tournament in Germany. He was directly involved in the commercial design and development and management of two 2010 stadiums and has consulted across Southern Africa.
He has his own stadium and rights management consulting business and is a partner in two C4 Climbing Training Venues in South Africa.
Li Zhixin (Chinese 李致新; Pinyin Lǐ Zhìxīn) was born in Dalian, located in the Chinese Province of Liaoning, in 1962. A leading Chinese mountaineer, Li Zhixin and partner Wang Yongfeng (王勇峰) became the first Chinese couple to climb the Seven Summits on 23rd June 1999. Li Zhixin graduated from the Wuhan Institute of Geology in 1985, where he begun his mountaineering career within the Institute’s Mountaineering Team the previous year. Director of the Mountaineering Sports Administrative Centre (MSAC) of the State General Administration of Sports, Li Zhixin is also President of the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) and IFSC Vice-President Communication.
Romain has been climbing since he could walk. He started his climbing journey in the French alps and reached many summits over the years. Romain’s academic background is in engineering and he graduated with a Master of Civil Engineering. He now works in the Australian Climbing Industry running his own business. Romain has been largely involved in the development of Sport Climbing Australia and subsequently the development of Sport Climbing in Australia as a whole. Romain has been on the Board of SCA since 2013 and Chair since 2016. In early 2017 Romain joined the IFSC Executive Board, as President of the Oceania Council.
Born in Spain but spending most of her years in Montreal, a French Canadian city, Maria speaks three languages fluently and feels simultaneously European and American. A former Gymnast and Gymnastics coach, it was during her studies in Physical Education and subsequently as a Master’s student in Biomechanics that Maria found climbing. As the owner and Director of one of the first and largest climbing gyms in Canada for the last 25 years, Maria has organised both regional and international climbing competitions and developed climbing programs for youths and adults from beginners to athletes. Maria was co-founder of the Canadian Competition Climbing Federation (CEC), of which she was President for four years. She became involved with the IFSC in 2009 after hosting the North American Championships in Montreal, when she was invited to attend the IFSC Plenary Assembly in Turin, Italy and the Pan American Council meeting. Now President of the IFSC Pan-American Council, Maria’s role within the Executive Board is to represent the Pan-American Council.
As President of the Athletes’ Commission, Sean’s role is to share the voice of the athletes with the Executive Board and advocate on their behalf. Since starting climbing in 1997, Sean has now competed in almost 150 IFSC World Cups, winning 5 events and appearing on the podium a further 23 times. Based in North Vancouver, Canada, Sean has played an active role in coaching the Canadian Youth National Teams, acting as head and assistant coach from 2009-2013. Sean was re-elected as Athlete Representative during the IFSC World Championships 2016 in Paris.
Shauna Coxsey MBE is the first British climber to qualify to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where Sport Climbing will make its debut. Climbing since the age of four, Shauna has cemented a global reputation as one of the world's best competition climbers; with a notable track record in outdoor bouldering also. A passionate proponent of widening participation in sport, when she was 18 years old, Shauna established the Women's Climbing Symposium (WCS). Now an annual event which in 2018 was attended by over 400 women, the WCS aims to connect, develop and inspire women to climb, whatever their level. Shauna is widely recognised as a key spokesperson for the sport and has extensive experience of working with the media and in other public speaking environments to provide insight, explanation and commentary on climbing, women in sport and access to sport. Shauna is also a trustee of Climbers Against Cancer, a charity to unite the climbing community in supporting Cancer Research which was set up by the late John Ellison.
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