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Speed Climbing: You’ve Never Seen Someone Climb This Fast

When climbing debuted in the Olympics in 2021, there were multiple disciplines. While most replicate what people do in the outdoors, speed climbing is its own unique activity. The sport is simple on paper—two climbers on top rope race to the top of a climb. The first one up wins. And if you haven’t seen how fast they are, you’re missing out.

Check out this clip from the Olympics’ Threads account of Polish climber Aleksandra Mirosław. This video shows her setting one of many records during the last Olympics.

Miroslaw did the route in under seven seconds, creating a new standard for the sport. Since then, she’s lowered the record to just 6.25 seconds in 2023 at an event in South Korea. That’s according to the Guinness World Records, who also say the men’s record is even lower at 4.90 seconds.

Unlike bouldering or sport climbing, speed climbing is always the same route, which removes the puzzle of figuring out a climb. These athletes know each move by heart, allowing them to climb at incredible speeds and focus more on how to move quickly and less on what move to make next. 

According to Red Bull Media, the sport appeals to the masses because it’s easy to understand. “The fastest person wins. That’s it.”

All the climbing disciplines are part of the Summer Games, meaning this summer in Paris, you’ll be able to catch Olympic speed climbing once again. 

Want to try your hand at speed climbing? This website does a great job documenting climbing gyms in your state or country and has details on what they offer. Simply select an area near you and search for “speed.”

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