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IFSC Combined Olympic Format Explained

February 12, 2020

With sport climbing’s Olympic debut beckoning,
the 3 disciplines of Speed, Boulder and Lead have been added together to create
the Combined event. Speed takes place on a 15 metre, 5-degree
overhanging wall and is a race against the clock and your opponent up a route that the
climbers have practised countless times. The women’s World record is 6.99 seconds,
and the men’s 5.48 seconds. This run took just 5.52 seconds.
After the Speed the climbers tackle a series of Boulders, each around 4 metres in height
and featuring a start point, a zone hold midway up, and a top hold. The boulders are incredibly
difficult, requiring power, flexibility, coordination and the ability to quickly figure out solutions
to complex challenges. Climbers are ranked according to how many boulders they top, and
ties are separated by comparing how many zone holds they reached. If climbers are still
tied, it comes down to attempts to top and attempts to zone. For example, this climber
got 2 tops and 3 zones, and their scored is displayed like this.
The final discipline contested is Lead, which takes place on a route of at least 15 metres
in height. Climbers begin at the foot of the Lead wall and then climb as high as possible,
clipping their rope into intermediate protection points en route, aiming to reach the final
hold, right at the top of the wall. Before attempting the route, the climbers
are allowed 6 minutes to study it before their attempts. Once underway, they are scored according
to which handhold they reach, with the highest number winning. The athletes do not see one
another’s attempts. After all 3 disciplines, the climbers’ rankings
in the 3 events are multiplied together to give them their final score, with the climber
who has the lowest score winning.

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  • Reply Marius February 4, 2020 at 9:54 am


  • Reply bdusa February 4, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Where's the skip button on speed climbing?

  • Reply -Eli* February 4, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Very nice explanation! 🙂

  • Reply JustAintThatWay February 4, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Looking forward to it.

  • Reply 安っぽい朝日 February 4, 2020 at 10:28 am


  • Reply Johannes February 4, 2020 at 11:27 am

    „The Lead wall is at least 15m high“ while showing the Hachioji wall with 12m height😂😂😂

  • Reply Mendokusai99 February 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Lowest multiplied score wins? So, if I don’t climb and get zeros… I win? What am I missing here?

  • Reply Falko February 4, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Nice explanation! But what happens if e.g. someone gets the ranks 1 x 1 x 8 = 8 and another one gets the ranks 2 x 2 x 2 = 8? Who wins?

  • Reply J St February 4, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    nice explanation, this elevator music is something else tho..

  • Reply Ramon Ruijgt February 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Not realy in the climbing sport. But i asume lead climb is closest to. Rock climbing. Just to hard to make a rock like course?

  • Reply Clarence - The regular Cat February 4, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    That moment when akiyo didn't make that last jump was surely one of the most dramatic scenes of last years season.

  • Reply Megan Ja February 5, 2020 at 2:39 am

    hi, which competition is the footage from?

  • Reply GalaxCFX February 5, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    'we've decided to ignore the entire climbing community and include speed climbing in this fiasco'

  • Reply Big Joe February 5, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    This is a nice introduction, but I think its really important to point out that the boulders and lead climbs are unique, like ice sculptures, created just for this event and will never exist again. The climbers have not seen or climbed them before, so they have to solve them like a puzzle. The boulders are harder, but the climbers can start over if they fall. There are no second chances on the lead climbs.

  • Reply Noborukuma February 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Nothing brings speed climbers back down to reality like lead climbing.

  • Reply sk8rsam77 February 10, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Speed would be watchable if it wasn't the same route every time.

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