SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (May 27, 2021) – On the eve of the Tokyo Olympics, a field of international sport climbers from 24 nations brought the newest Olympic event to Salt Lake City, just a short distance from the new home of USA Climbing. The two-weekend event in May marks another milestone for the Utah Sports Commission in its quest to bring both winter and summer sport to Utah.
The International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup event attracted 125 climbers from around the world in one of the final tune-up events before the sport makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo on August 4. Highlighting the field is the first ever Team USA climbing squad including Nathaniel Coleman (Murray, Utah), Kyra Condie (Shoreview, Minn., now living in Salt Lake City), Colin Duffy (Broomfield, Colo.), and Brooke Raboutou (Boulder, Colo.).
The World Cup opened May 21-22 to large crowds in downtown Salt Lake City. It will continue over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30. USA Climbing is expecting as many as 5,000 spectators per day. Ticket sales were strong with a large percentage coming in from outside of Utah.
The opening weekend produced a thriller for USA fans as they saw teen Natalia Grossman take her first World Cup win in stunning fashion, becoming the only athlete to top all four problems in the bouldering competition. Olympian Raboutou was third.
“Our vision at USA Climbing was to bring World Cup climbing to an urban setting here in Salt Lake City,” said USA Climbing CEO Marc Norman. “The Wasatch Range is home to great natural climbing areas and a gorgeous backdrop for the downtown World Cup.”
The Utah Sports Commission was a catalyst to help USA Climbing move its headquarters to Salt Lake City in November, 2018. A small national governing body at the time, USA Climbing has grown considerably since its move to Utah growing from four to 14 employees as it prepares for its Olympic debut with a strong group of athletes.
USA Climbing opened a new office in late 2018 in the Industry SLC development in Salt Lake City’s Granary District, on the southwest side of the downtown area. It is now one of three Olympic sports with governing bodies located in Utah, including U.S. Speedskating in Kearns and U.S. Ski & Snowboard. The culture of sport in Utah has attracted athletes from many other governing bodies to spend significant time in Utah utilizing training facilities in the state.
“While the world knows Utah as a winter sports hub both from 2002 and our well-known ambitions for a future Games, our state is increasingly becoming a summer sports destination,” said Utah Sports Commission President and CEO Jeff Robbins. “The state has a solid track record of summer events from Ironman triathlons in Washington County to world championships and world finals in an array of sports competitions.”
Winter World Cup events are typical each winter including freestyle skiing at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, bobsled, skeleton and luge at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and speedskating at the Olympic Oval in Kearns.
The IFSC World Cup is another significant milestone for Utah in bringing one of the highest Olympic-level sporting events to the state. Last summer during the height of the pandemic, the Utah Sports Commission was a pioneer in the return to sport movement bringing AMA SuperCross, National Women’s Soccer League and the Premier Lacrosse League to the state.
The event will continue Memorial Day weekend with strong crowds anticipated