COMBINED CLIMBING involves three disciplines: Speed Climbing, Bouldering, and Lead Climbing. Athletes desiring to compete in the 2020 Olympics must compete in each of these disciplines. Those with the lowest score will advance to the finals and will ultimately stand on the podium.
However, there are a lot of questions as to how the athletes will be chosen. There's a concern many of the world's best climbers could get eliminated because they fail to compete at a high enough level in the other two disciplines. How is that possible? What is the format? For the low down, I asked John Burgman with Climbing Magazine to break it all down.
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SPEED CLIMBING: Two climbers secure safety ropes to themselves and attempt to scale a 15m-high wall, set at an angle of 95 degrees, faster than their opponent. Winning times for men's events tend to be around the five- to six-second mark, while women's events are usually won in around seven or eight seconds. A false start results in instant disqualification.
BOULDERING: In bouldering, climbers scale as many fixed routes on a 4m-high wall as they can within four minutes. The routes vary in difficulty and climbers are not permitted to practice climbing them in advance. When a climber grabs the final hold at the top of a route with both hands, they are deemed to have completed it. Climbers tackle the wall without safety ropes and can try a route again if they fall during their initial attempt. They are given 4 minutes to complete.
LEAD CLIMBING: Lead climbing involves athletes attempting to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15m in height within six minutes. The climbers use safety ropes and attach the rope to quickdraws (equipment that allows the rope to run freely while leading) along the route. When a climber attaches their rope to the top quickdraw, they have completed the climb. If a climber falls, the height attained is recorded. There are no re-climbs. If two or more athletes complete the climb or reach exactly the same height, the fastest to do so is declared the winner.
How scores are calculated can be confusing. We've made an effort to simplify the process. Let's say a competitor comes in 10th in speed climbing, 3rd in bouldering, and 2nd in lead. That athlete's score would be calculated as follows: 10 x 3 x 2 = 60. While another athlete comes in 1st on speed, 4th in bouldering and 3rd in lead with a combined score: 1 x 4 x 3 = 12
While yet another climber comes in 3rd in speed, 1st in bouldering, and 2nd in lead. Their score would be 3 x 1 x 2 = 6.
Results: the athlete with the lowest score (6) would be the Gold Medal winner. The athlete with the next lowest score (12) would be the Silver Medalist, and so forth.