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Sport Climbing in the 2024 Paris Olympics: Qualifying Explained

The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is 2 months away, taking place in the historic capital city from July 26 to August 11. Sport climbing will enjoy its second Olympics, as Tokyo 2020 was the debut.
Janja Garnbret of Slovenia competing in a 2023 IFSC World Cup(Photo/IFSC)
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Only one climbing gold medal for each gender was awarded at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing were all combined into a single event. The medal count will double in Paris this summer, with Boulder and Lead and Speed Climbing being separate events, to the unanimous approval of anyone familiar with competitive climbing.

The number of sport climbing athletes will also drastically increase in Paris compared to the Tokyo Games. Sixty-eight athletes will represent their countries this summer, compared to 40 in 2020. The United States earned a silver medal in Tokyo, as Utah’s Nathanial Coleman nabbed the second step in the combined three-discipline event.

But first things first. How does an aspiring climbing athlete claw their way into the Olympic Games? Read on for our climbing athlete road map to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Qualifying for Sport Climbing in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games

Roberts competing for Great Britain in a 2023 sport climbing IFSC World Cup event in 2024
Tony Roberts of Great Britain has already qualified for Boulder and Lead for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games; (photo/IFSC)

Boulder and Lead Event: 20 Athletes per Gender Will Qualify

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) has a quota of two men and two women for Boulder and Lead for Paris 2024.

As of this writing, eight athletes from each gender have qualified for the Boulder and Lead event in Paris. Some of these climbers earned their spots through the 2023 World Championships in Bern, Switzerland, and the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. Others gained entry through a series of International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Continental Olympic qualifying events held last year in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Europe.

As the host country, France also chose one athlete per gender as an automatic qualifier. Another position for each gender will be awarded through a “Universality Places” system designed to increase diversity and aid underrepresented National Olympic Committees (NOCs). These smaller, underfunded NOCs can gain otherwise unattainable entries into the Olympics. An Olympic Games Tripartite Commission awards these quotas to eligible NOCs.

Here is the list of climbers already admitted to the Boulder and Lead combined event at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Colin Duffy of the USA competing in a 2024 sport climbing IFSC World Cup
Collin Duffy will be representing the USA in Boulder and Lead at the 2024 Summer Olympics; (photo/IFSC)


  • Colin Duffy (USA)
  • Jesse Grupper (USA)
  • Jakob Schubert (AUT)
  • Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
  • Sorato Anraku (JPN)
  • Toby Roberts (GBR)
  • Campbell Harrison (AUS)
  • Mel Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Natalia Grossman of the USA competing in a 2021 IFSC sport climbing World Cup
Natalia Grossman will be representing the USA in Paris this summer; (photo/IFSC)


  • Natalia Grossman (USA)
  • Janja Garnbret (SLO)
  • Jessica Pilz (AUT)
  • Ai Mori (JPN)
  • Oriane Bertone (FRA)
  • Zhang Yuetong (CHN)
  • Oceana Mackenzie (AUS)
  • Lauren Mukheibir (RSA)

Speed Climbing Event: 14 Athletes per Gender Will Qualify

Samual Watson and Emma Hunt of Team USA Climbing
Samual Watson and Emma Hunt or Team USA have already qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in Speed Climbing; (photo/IFSC)

As the host, France will gain one entry per gender in Speed Climbing. The Universality Places system will award another spot.

The two highest-placing speed climbers in each gender at the 2023 World Championships have secured their spots. The same applies to the highest-placing men’s and women’s speed climbers in the 2023 Pan American Games and the four other 2023 IFSC Continental Olympic qualifying events.

As of this writing, these speed climbers have gained entry into the Speed Climbing event of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games:


  • Samuel Watson (USA)
  • Matteo Zurloni (ITA)
  • Long Jinbao (CHN)
  • Bassa Mawem (FRA)
  • Rahmad Adi Mulyono (INA)
  • Julian David (NZL)
  • Joshua Bruyns (RSA)


  • Emma Hunt (USA)
  • Piper Kelly (USA)
  • Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi (INA)
  • Aleksandra Mirosław (POL)
  • Deng Lijuan (CHN)
  • Sarah Tetzlaff (NZL)
  • Aniya Holder (RSA)

But Where Are the Other Big Guns?

Climbing fans will notice that there are several big guns missing from the above lists, including Adam Ondra, Brooke Raboutou, and Alex Megos, among others. The remaining hopefuls will have one more competitive opportunity to earn an Olympic qualifying position for Paris: the Olympic Qualifying Series (OQS), with one of the two events happening now in Shanghai, China (May 16-19). The other OQS is slated for June 20-23 in Budapest, Hungary.

The OQS is an Olympic qualifying event for sport climbing, BMX freestyle, breaking (breakdancing), and skateboarding. The official list of the 160 climbers participating in the OQS includes those you would expect to be vying for Olympic spots in sport climbing.

The number of participants is equally divided between men and women and was chosen primarily based on IFSC rankings for Boulder and Lead. In total, 150 athletes will qualify for Paris 2024 across four sports in the OQS events.

How to Qualify for Sport Climbing in the 2024 Paris Olympics Through the OQS

Adam Ondra in a gym
Adam Ondra is among the big-name climbers taking the OQS route to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris; (photo/Black Diamond)

Athletes will earn points based on results at each of the two OQS events. 50 points go to first place, 45 for second, 41 for third, 38 for fourth, and 36 for fifth. From sixth place down, each athlete will earn the same number of points, minus one, from the place above them. For example, sixth place will earn 35 points, seventh will earn 34 points, and so on.

After the second Budapest OQS event, the points from the Shanghai and Budapest rounds will be added together to create a final score. The top 12 point earners for each gender will gain entry into the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. However, the two athletes per NOC rule is in effect.

Some countries have more athletes competing than the qualifying spots they possess. If a NOC already has the two spots per gender filled and an athlete places in the top 12 in the OQS, that athlete’s spot will be awarded to the next highest-placing climber.

Notably, Team USA already has two men and one woman qualified before the OQS event in Shanghai, but four women are competing. So, only one more female climber can qualify for Paris through both OCS events.

Final Thoughts on Qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in Sport Climbing

Janja Garnbret of Slovenia competing in a 2024 IFSC World Cup
Janja Garnbret will again be a favorite at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games; (photo/IFSC)

The road to the Olympics in sport climbing seems complicated, but it’s hard to complain when our beloved sport wasn’t even part of the Games until 2020. And even then, to the disappointment of almost everyone, the combined format was disjointed given the drastically different physical demands and skill sets between bouldering, lead climbing, and especially speed climbing.

As climbing’s popularity grows and gains more media exposure through the Olympics, we can hope that the International Olympic Committee will grant all three disciplines their own medals. Qualifying for the Olympics will become necessarily more complex, but these efforts are in place to guarantee a fair and logical path to the biggest sport climbing event on the globe.

Watch GearJunkie for continued explainers and coverage surrounding sport climbing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. And support your country’s athletes in any way you can. We all know that climbing doesn’t attract funds like other mainstream sports, but it is a core outdoor activity and lifestyle for many of us.

Lead semi-finals routes, Innsbruck World Cup, 2022 (photo IFSC)

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