But the sport also has a large following in Europe, exemplified by the raucous crowds who witnessed some of the world’s top talent lock horns at 2019 IFSC Combined Qualifier, 29 November-01 December in Toulouse, France.
With Olympic qualification berths up for grabs, and the chance to become the world’s first ever Olympic champion, it was not a competition for the faint-hearted.
New Olympic Channel series Road to Tokyo: Sport Climbing - The Qualifier Stories takes you behind the scenes at the event, where you can relive all the highs and lows through the eyes of climbers like Bassa Mawem, Kyra Condie, Adam Ondra, Aries Susanti Rahayu and Mia Krampl.
What to expect
“You can be as fit as you want, but if you can’t keep your heart rate down when you’re tired and make good decisions, all that fitness goes out the window.” - Nathaniel Coleman, USA
In episode two, Indonesia’s climbing hero Aries Susanti Rahayu knows that only victory will do in the explosive speed event if she is to keep her qualification dreams alive, while USA star Kyra Condie has to put her friendships to one side to stay in the running for Tokyo 2020.
An emotional episode three sees plenty of highs and lows (in every sense of the words!) as the first climbers of the event secure their place at the Olympics.
In the final episode there is high drama on the last day of the women’s competition, with Lucka Rakovec, Kyra Condie, Julia Chanourdie and Laura Rogora taking centre stage.
Check out some other qualifier series
The behind-the-scenes Olympic qualification fun doesn’t end there!
Keep an eye out on Olympic Channel between now and the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where we will be bringing you exciting qualification stories from a host of different sports and athletes around the world.
For starters, you can check out Road to Tokyo: Surfing – The Qualifier Stories here.