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The 2020 IFSC Annual Report Shows The Year Wasn’t That Bad…

The IFSC just released their annual report for last year, chronicling the “most challenging year in the history of the organization.” Still, it was a banner year.

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The International Federation of Sport Climbing announced the publication of its 2020 Annual Report last week, summarizing the organization’s performance amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the buildup to climbing’s Olympic debut. “We have experienced hard times,” said IFSC President Marco Scolaris in the opening statement. “But not all has been lost: our passion and our determination have not diminished and they will lead us towards new horizons. We reacted strongly and adapted to new circumstances.”

The IFSC reported a 30% decrease in revenue during 2020 compared to 2019, amounting to revenue of $2.4 million vs $3.5 million the year before. Still, 2020 marked the second-highest earnings in IFSC history. This was largely in part due to funds and COVID-19 response donations from the International Olympic Committee, numbering over €850,000 ($1,036,035).

The IFSC also released a detailed competition plan from 2021 through 2028, with sport climbing scheduled for appearances at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. 

The report opened with a tribute to French climber Luce Douady, who passed away in June last year after a fall from a cliff face while hiking. The 16-year-old was a former IFSC Bouldering Youth World Champion and Olympic hopeful. 

A handful of milestones and announcements during the 2020 calendar year were highlighted, a few of which are outlined below.


Notable Mentions from the 2020 Report  

  • Bouldering and Lead will be held collectively, but separate from Speed at the 2024 Paris Olympics, as opposed to the Combined format for Tokyo 2020.
  • Sport climbing’s second showing at the Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2022, has been delayed until 2026 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The African Cup last December, which saw Chris Cosser and Erin Sterkenburg qualify for Tokyo 2020, marked the IFSC’s first competition held on African soil. Eight African nations now house IFSC Member Federations.
  • Sport climbing will debut at the Pan American Games, the Americas’ largest multi-sport event, in 2023 in Santiago, Chile.
  • The IFSC has formed a Paralympic Committee to further the sport of paraclimbing. Paraclimbing plans a debut at the LA 2028 Olympics.
  • Seven new member federations joined the IFSC last year (Fiji, Uganda, Malta, Mauritius, Nepal, Saudia Arabia, and Puerto Rico), increasing the total number of federations to 95, spread among 93 different countries. 
  • The IFSC received it’s highest ever social media engagement with a Facebook video of Slovenian  Jernej Kruder flashing a problem in the Moscow 2020 European Championships. The video racked up over 2.5 million views.


The full 2020 IFSC Annual Report is available online.


Image by Giorgio Perottino/IFSC