Men's Olympic Speed Climbing Preview- Top 3 to Watch!

With sport climbing being in the Olympics it seems only natural to ignore the other two disciplines involved and focus on what's most important: speed climbing.

(As an aside, I'm putting the moneyline of the 5-10 second news clip of whomever wins the combined gold medal having either speed climbing or a dyno from bouldering as the main clip at -1000.)

With speed climbing being what this site is all about, let's not beat around the bush. Below are my top three picks for winning the speed climbing portion of the Olympics.

Tomoa Narasaki

Tomoa needs no introduction. After all, his starting beta of doing a step up dyno bears his name after it changed the game. He's not just dynamic on problems, he is fast on the wall with a personal record of 5.727 seconds.


Tomoa enters the Olympics with an impressive resume in all three events. In 2019, he won the IFSC combined events championship held in Japan. Since 2018 he's recorded over ten top ten finishes in IFSC bouldering competitions, with 7 top three finishes since 2019. 

Tomoa is no slouch lead climbing either. He has a handful of top ten finishes at IFSC competitions within the last few years, including a 9th place this year at Innsbruck behind a stacked filed that included Adam Ondra and event winner Jakob Schubert

But let's talk about speed climbing. Even before he hit the speed wall, everyone knew how explosive he was due to his dynamic style. His Instagram is loaded with videos of his dynos. His strengths in bouldering naturally translate into speed climbing. His personal best of 5.72 (below) puts him among the best in the field.

Tomoa is a finals fan favorite and I expect him to make good on his prediction of hitting (or at least getting close to 5.5 seconds). If the track and field world has taught me anything, it's that the Japanese team always performs above expectations at the world stage (Olympics and world championships). Because of this, Tomoa is my one of my favorites to win the speed portion, but he will have stiff competition from a long time favorite of mine, Bassa Mawem

Bassa Mawem

Bassa is everyone's favorite speed dad. At 36 years old, he is the oldest competitor, yet also the fastest. This sort of paradox makes sense when you finally have kids and realize how quickly they can get to places you don't want them to be. Speed becomes necessity to ensure the survival of the species.

Given his age, you might expect Bassa's PB to be from years ago set by his younger self, and who is now in the twilight of his career. You would be wrong. His new PB of 5.44 was set just last month at Gaflenz, with every single one of his attempts being under his previous PR of 5.65. He is not just getting better with age, but he is getting more consistent. As you can see below, he is still fast and unafraid of competition.


Rishat Khaibullin 

Rishat is a relatively unknown competitor that I first took notice of after his combined competition last year. Then, proving it was no fluke, he went 5.728 in qualifiers at Villars earlier this month, only to drop an insane 5.538 in finals to knock off Polish Favorite Marcin Dzienski. 

This type of speed is no joke and makes him a serious competitor to take the top spot.

I don't have much information on Rishat that isn't already well covered by Professor Ok's video on him, however you can see his 5.538 below and learn all that you need to know. He's quick.

My Predictions (for speed)

1st- Bassa Mawem

2nd- Tomoa Narasaki

3rd- Rishat Kahibullin

Bassa enters the field as the fastest and most consistent, with the most competitive experience. It is hard for me to bet against someone with all of those attributes.

I think it is a toss up between Rishat and Tomoa. While Rishat has a faster PB, Tomoa is competing in his home country. Given previous Olympics, I will never doubt a home athlete's ability to rise to the occasion. Rishat is my unknown/darkhorse who could use these Olympics to break out of obscurity with a series of runs equal or better than his finals run from Villars.

What are your thoughts? Who do you think will take home the fastest times for speed climbing? Leave your thoughts below!

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