President's Message

“2020 was an extremely intense year. We have suffered so much but we have also learned a lot.”

March 2021

Dear Sport Climbing family,


To find the right words is not easy this time. I get mixed feelings when looking back on 2020. What a year!

Sometimes we have the impression that the days, weeks, and months of our lives have been stolen and that they won’t come back. 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. When the storm hit us, we thought it would not last long.

One year later we are still here, caught in the tunnel, with flashes of normality lighting up our lives. Even now, when we see a light in the distance, we realise that we are far from climbing at full strength again.

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.

The IFSC Executive Board met every week during the peak of the crisis in 2020. Every month, we spoke with IFSC members to encourage each other and share information, hopes and fears.

We organised two plenary assemblies through our computer screens. One in spring to approve the 2019 financial reports, and one in autumn, where we concluded the IFSC Strategic Plan 2020-2028 after a process that lasted almost two years and involved all of our members. The unanimous approval of the plan has been, beyond doubt, a milestone in IFSC history.

Sadly, the IFSC 2020 calendar was devastated by COVID-19. Nevertheless, during a summer break in the storm we ran a memorable World Cup in Briançon, France, to spread a message of hope. Regrettably, we have not yet been able to provide a similar stage for our paraclimbers.

Later in the year, against all odds, we also succeeded in reaching the end of the Tokyo 2020 qualification process, with all but one of the continental qualifying events completed in Moscow, Russia; Sydney, Australia; and Cape Town, South Africa.

We also managed to conclude round two of the Olympic dream in 2020. In December we were included in the schedule for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which follows our debut at Tokyo 2020. We also doubled the number of medals and increased the number of athletes in Paris by 60 per cent compared to Tokyo – the only sport on the programme to do so.

Previously, we entered a new partnership with the International Olympic Committee. In Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC recognised our credibility and our work. They granted us a generous donation for the purpose of financially supporting the IFSC in these hard times, creating a solid and strong base for us to jump into the future.

Quietly but confidently, we moved towards round one of the Paralympic dream with a dynamic and enthusiastic ad hoc Paraclimbing Committee.

Also on the positive side, with great effort we were able to protect our IFSC team. Thanks to support funds received from the Italian government and the proper use of our resources, we guaranteed financial stability for our staff, despite lockdowns and other restrictive measures.

All in all, 2020 has been an extremely intense year. A very busy year, with more than two hundred teleconferences and endless challenges and trials. We have suffered so much but we have also learned a lot.

We have climbed the best we could, and I am sure we have built stronger foundations. The sport and the IFSC family will grow, day after day together with our maturity, the way our athletes deserve and the way we want.

Better days will come: our passion and our deeds will make them brighter. Stay strong! 

World up. Keep climbing.


Marco Maria Scolaris, IFSC President

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