Molly Thompson-Smith: I want to be at Paris 2024 and not talk about it on TV

Olympic climber Molly Thompson-Smith

The 24-year-old has her sights set on Paris 2024 (Image: Alan Walter)

In recent years, the sport of climbing’s public profile has experienced a massive boom; New climbing walls were opening and getting busier, more mainstream companies wanted to work with climbers, and this caught the attention of Olympic viewers at home last summer.

Of course I always wanted to be there Olympia rather than talking about it in a TV studio, but I’m really grateful for the opportunities the games have given me after missing out on qualifying.

I have enjoyed working with the BBC to bring rock climbing to a wider audience and being the face that helped break up the captivating performances we saw in Tokyo.

I will always be an athlete, but I really enjoy learning new skills and appreciating other people’s professions.

And getting behind the scenes and working on the BBC’s coverage of the Games really showed how difficult commentary is!

It’s fast-paced, dynamic, and exciting, but there’s also no room for error. You must ensure that what you say is presented in a useful, correct, and clear and concise manner. This week at the BBC has really made me appreciate the skills of the pundits, TV presenters and commentators out there.

But as much as the climbing sport still raves about its Olympic debut in Japan last summer, there is not that much time to remember, because the qualification for the next Games in Paris in two years is just around the corner.

Molly Thompson-Smith at the IFSC Climbing European Championships 2020 in Moscow

Thompson-Smith was part of the BBC’s Olympic climbing coverage (Picture: Getty)

The battle for place in France is already on the minds of pretty much every competitive climber out there, with the first opportunity to secure a ticket to the Games being next summer’s World Championships in Bern.

There will be a format change at the next Olympics that will bring sport climbing at the Games closer to the competitive sport that we climbers are used to. Speed ​​becomes its own event, Boulder and Lead become a combined event.

I don’t think I’m the only climber relieved by this format change. It was really challenging training for three very different disciplines at the same time and the increased training load and intensity definitely took its toll on many athletes due to numerous injuries and failures.

This refocused format should be a much nicer training experience for competitive climbers and allow the best in each discipline to showcase the sport in 2024.

My goals, like commenting, are always changing. But one thing remains the same – and that is the Olympic qualification.

Next year in particular will be so crucial to my hopes of competing in France for Team GB.

I’ve had some time to recover from the long and emotionally draining process of the Tokyo qualifying trail and I feel ready to get back on track and head to the next games.

Molly Thompson-Smith is a The North Face athlete #NeverStopExploring

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General Sports Molly Thompson-Smith: I want to be at Paris 2024 and not talk about it on TV

Nate Jones

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