COLORADO SPRINGS — For the first time ever, climbers competed for gold, as sport climbing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo games Tuesday. To win the gold medal, athletes have to excel in three climbing categories: speed, lead, and bouldering. According to the International Olympic Committee, the athletes will be timed on how fast they can reach the top. This requires a whole lot of muscle power and muscle memory. Judges are also looking at what's called bouldering. It's when climbers scale a rock formation or wall without the use of ropes or harnesses. Athletes have to show creativity in this category. The last skill is leading ability. This is when a roped climber takes the lead, while teammates follow behind. This is considered one of the toughest competitions in the sport. The routes are long, and designed to be hard! The climbers get one point for each hold they reach. News5 spoke to a competitive climber at the Colorado Springs Indoor Rock Climbing Gym, known as City Rock. Alex Oram is also an employee at the gym. He's pretty excited that climbing is now an Olympic sport. "I really love the aesthetics of it. It's so cool to look, and at it's so cool to watch climbers doing these ridiculous looking moves," Oram explained. Oram says he's also seen more of a local interest in rock climbing since it became an Olympic sport.
"My friends who knew I had climbed, understand it's a sport now, and they now want to come in and try it in different ways," he said. The Olympic climbing competition was held at 2 a.m. MT, Tuesday morning. Collin Duffy and Nathaniel Coleman are two U.S. climbers to watch and root for.