IFSC Annual Report Highlights Ups and Downs in 2020

Image by Giorgio Perottino / IFSC
IFSC logo
Photo by Giorgio Perottino / IFSC

This week the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) announced the publication of its 2020 Annual Report. The 84-page report reveals some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport climbing’s international governing body, as well as plans for international competitions going forward.

30% Decrease in Revenue

Not surprisingly, the total operating revenue of the IFSC decreased in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the roughly $2.4 million revenue last year―while about 30% less than the roughly $3.5 million revenue in 2019―was still the second highest annual revenue in IFSC history, based on figures from the previous 2019 Annual Report.

According to the financial summary in the 2020 report, the largely positive financial result was due in large part to International Olympic Committee (IOC) funds and an IOC donation for COVID-19-related hardships, which has allowed the IFSC to maintain financial stability for its staff throughout the pandemic. Additional support was also provided from ongoing sponsorship and broadcasting deals.

“We have experienced hard times: being forced to see the sky through the window, unable to embrace our friends, with their smiles hidden by a mask,” said Marco Scolaris, IFSC President, in his opening message. “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.”

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LA 2028 on the Agenda

Although the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed last year, sport climbing is set to make its long-awaited debut this summer. Of note in the report is that the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles continued to be identified as a major goal of the IFSC. According to the IFSC’s Strategic Plan, the aim is for sport climbing to not only be included at the event but also to receive three sets of medals per gender, one for each discipline (bouldering, lead, speed). Currently, there will be only one set of medals per gender at Tokyo―via the combined format―and at Paris 2024 there will be two sets of medals (bouldering plus lead, and speed). While sport climbing has been added to both these events, a decision for LA 2028 has not been made yet by the IOC.

Another objective for LA 2028 is the inclusion of paraclimbing to its first Paralympic Games. Already, the report highlighted that paraclimbing was approved for the 2023 PanAmerican Games―set to take place in Santiago, Chile―which is closely associated with the IOC and the Olympic movement. A Paraclimbing World Cup is also scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in October at Sender One’s LAX facility.

“Great things are also on the way for Paraclimbing,” said Debra Gawrych, IFSC Secretary General, in her opening message. “The IFSC Strategic Plan 2020-2028 includes the goal to bring the sport to the Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028. This is an ambitious target. We are already planning multiple Paraclimbing World Cups and the Sport Department and Paraclimbing Committee are putting huge emphasis on this objective.”

A big step towards LA 2028 will be the Olympics in Tokyo, the climbing portion of which is scheduled for August 3-6. The complete sport climbing roster for Tokyo can be found here, and click here to hear thoughts from Team USA’s climbers leading up to the event.

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