How to watch sport climbing at Olympics 2020: live stream, final times and more

Adam Ondra during sport climbing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
(Image credit: Adam Ondra)

Undoubtedly the breakout hit of the 2020 Olympics, sport climbing has wowed a new base of sports fans who have been wowed the the sheer strength, speed, strategy, flexibility and endurance of its competitors.  New to the line-up of events this year, here's how to watch climbing at Olympic 2020 with a live stream - including ways to see it all for free.

Live stream climbing at 2020 Olympics

Dates: Tuesday, August 3 - Friday, August 6 

Venue: Aomi Urban Sports Park

FREE live streams: BBC iPlayer (UK, part coverage) | 7Plus (AUS) | CBC (CA) | TVNZ (NZ)

US coverage: NBC channels (or Sling TV / Fubo TV)

Watch anywhere: try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free

Yep, a brand new addition to the games in 2020, climbing is judged on three distinct disciplines: speed, lead, and bouldering. As its name suggests, speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, with the first athlete to reach the top of the 15-meter wall declared the winner. Lead climbing requires roped-in climbers to get as high as they can in six minutes, while bouldering encourages climbers to scale as many routes as possible in just four minutes.

Of the 8 athletes competing in each final at Tokyo, there are certainly a few favorites for gold. One is Czech Republic's Adam Ondra - a five-time world champion and specialist in lead and bouldering, who was also the first person ever to climb a notoriously difficult 9C route. But it was Frenchman Mickael Mawem who wowed everybody in qualifying to come hea dthe field.

In the women's event, Slovenian six-time world champion Janja Garnbret is one to watch. She’s considered one of the best climbers in the world. But Korean climber Chaehyun Seo looked very impressive earlier in the week, too.

So who will make history by becoming the first Olympic sport climbing champion? Watch climbing at Olympics 2020 to find out! Read on for information on how to live stream Olympics events, plus some important dates you don’t want to miss.  

Olympics 2020 climbing: key dates and times

- Men's Speed final: Thursday, August 5 from 5.30pm JST / 9.30am BST / 4.30am ET 

- Men's Bouldering final: Thursday, August 5 from 6.30pm JST / 10.30am BST / 5.30am ET

- Men's Lead final: Thursday, August 5 from 9.10pm JST / 1.10pm BST / 8.10am ET

- Women's Speed final: Friday, August 6 from 5.30pm JST / 9.30am BST / 4.30am ET

- Women's Bouldering final: Friday, August 6 from 6.30pm JST / 10.30am BST / 5.30am ET

- Women's Lead final: Friday, August 6 from 9.10pm JST / 1.10pm BST / 8.10am ET

Free Olympics climbing live stream

Catch a climbing Olympic live stream where you are with many native broadcasters offering free coverage across the Olympics schedule. In the UK, BBC and BBC iPlayer will be broadcasting live coverage of key events, while Channel 7 in Australia, and its online counterpart, 7Plus, lead the charge with the most comprehensive live stream across all events.

Other countries with free Olympic live streams include RTE in Ireland, TF1 in France, and ARD and ZDF in Germany.

How to watch your Olympics live stream when abroad

No matter where you are around the world, there should be an Olympic Games stream to ensure you can watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, whether paid-for or free. However, you may find your preferred domestic coverage is geo-restricted when abroad, or that your place of work, college, or school has prevented the ability to access your chosen service and watch online.

Thankfully, there's any easy work-around. Simply download a VPN and you can spoof your device into appearing as if it's located somewhere else. Essentially, then, you can appear as if you're where your coverage is geo-locked to and watch as if you're right at home.

Use a VPN to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from anywhere

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Three simple steps to using a VPN to bypass geo-restrictions:

1. Download and install a VPN - our recommendation is ExpressVPN

2. Connect to the relevant server location - launch the VPN app, click on 'choose location' and select the right location, i.e. UK for iPlayer, US for Sling TV

3. Head to the chosen broadcaster's live stream - so, whichever service you want to use, all you need to do is head to their website and start streaming.

Janja Garnbret of Slovenia climbing, who will join Team Slovakia for climbing at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

(Image credit: Marco Kost/Getty Ima)

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FREE Olympics climbing live stream in the UK


In previous years, all the Olympic action you could handle would have been on the BBC, but coverage has been scaled back in 2021. It's proven tricky to fathom from the schedules whether the BBC will show this, but if Shauna Coxsey is looking likely to medal, we'd assume it will at least be on the online BBC iPlayer.

Discovery+ and Eurosport are, therefore, your best options for watching every minute of the Olympics climbing action live.

Each one costs £6.99 per month or a bargain £29.99 for a whole year. And if you want to see just how comprehensive the coverage is (spoiler alert: very!) then there's also a three-day free trial you can take advantage of.

If you’re abroad for the Olympics, access your favorite home streaming services by downloading and installing a VPN. That way, you won’t miss any events.

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How to watch Olympics climbing in the US with and without cable


Those in the US with a cable subscription can access full Olympic climbing coverage via NBC, either online or on TV. But don’t worry if this isn’t included in your cable setup; you can also head to streaming services like Peacock, Sling TV and Fubo TV. 

While Peacock offers a free service with plenty of on-demand TV shows and movies, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium account ($4.99/month) or an ad-free Premium Plus account ($9.99/month) to live stream the 2020 Olympics - and even this coverage is limited.

Alternatively, Sling TV’s streaming service will also be broadcasting the 2020 Olympics with all NBC and NBCSN's coverage available via the platform. Subscribe to the Sling Blue package (usually $35 a month) which includes NBCSN, and you can currently get your first month for just $10

You can use Google Chrome Browser, Samsung TV, iOS, Android, and other devices to access these platforms.

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How to watch Olympics climbing in Canada


Those living in Canada benefit from a choice of channels airing the Olympics, as coverage is split across CBC, TSN, Sportsnet, and TLN.

If you don’t have cable, you still have options. CBC, TSN, and Sportsnet also provide standalone streaming services. CBC is great value, offering a free first month and then a low monthly subscription cost of just CA$4.99. That said, you can get a ton of free Olympic coverage on CBC, too, via its website and app.

Alternatively, TSN is more expensive at CA$4.99 per day or CA$19.99 per month, and Sportsnet Now will also set you back CAD 19.99 a month.

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How to live stream climbing at the Olympics for FREE in Australia

free coverage of the 2020 Olympics

Climbing fans in Australia can benefit from Channel 7’s free coverage of the 2020 Olympics or use its online streaming service, 7plus, which offers extensive, 24/7 coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This is available on the majority of web-enabled devices, but you can check out the website for further information. 

Not in Australia? Use a VPN if you're away from home, in order to tap into your local Olympics coverage.

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How to watch Olympic climbing in New Zealand


New Zealand also has free Olympics coverage in 2021 thanks to broadcaster TVNZand its TVNZ OnDemand streaming service, with Olympic coverage airing 24/7 on TVNZ 1 and online.

If that isn't quite enough, then Sky Sport is also carrying the action, with a weekly pass costing from $19.99.

Other 2020 Olympics broadcasters around the world

With many countries around the world taking part in the Olympic Games, you can find a broadcaster to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in most countries, whether free or platforms that charge.

For those countries we haven't mentioned above, Wikipedia's dedicated page allows you to see a breakdown of Olympic Games TV channels to tune into.

Chelsea Forsyth

Chelsea is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from the London School of Journalism and a passion for lifestyle interests, especially as they intersect with consumer and business tech.