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Rope Climbing at the Olympic Games

In this past Olympic event, competitors climbed a suspended vertical rope using only their hands. How quick you can climb a rope sounds like a great test of upper body strength, and it has been part of the Olympic gymnastics program on several occasions. Rope Climbing was held as part of the official gymnastics program in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932. In 1912 it was not on the program, but a gymnastics demonstration included some rope climbing.

the rope climbing competition at the 1896 Olympic Games the rope climbing competition at the 1896 Olympic Games

Competitors raced to the top of the rope in the shortest time possible. They started in a seated position on the floor, and used only the hands and arms. In 1896 the rope was 14 meters long, and the climbing style was also incorporated in the scoring. At all other Olympics, the rope was only 25 ft (7.62m) or 8m (26.3 ft).



Athletes climbed a smooth, unknotted rope that was 14 meters long, suspended from a frame. Only two of the five competitors reached the top of the rope, both of them Greek. Style and time scores separated the two.

  1. Nikolaos Andriakopoulos Greece 14.0m
  2. Thomas Xenakis Greece 14.0m
  3. Fritz Hofmann Germany 12.5m


The rope climb was 25 feet (7.62 meters) in height. Each contestant had three attempts, the fastest time counted.

  1. George Eyser United States 7.0 seconds
  2. Charles Krause United States 7.2 seconds
  3. Emil Voigt United States 9.8 seconds

1906 (Intercalated Games)

Results are based on the time to climb a 10-meter rope.

  1. Georgios Aliprantis (GRE), 11.4 seconds
  2. Béla Erödy (HUN), 13.8 seconds
  3. Konstantinos Kozanitas (GRE), 13.8 seconds


The rope climbing event was judged based on time, one attempt each, with the fastest to reach the top the winner.

  1. Bedřich Šupčík Czechoslovakia, 7.2 seconds
  2. Albert Séguin France, 7.4 seconds
  3. August Güttinger Switzerland, 7.8 seconds


Each contestant had three attempts, the fastest time counted. The rope was 8 meters (26 feet, 3 inches) long. There were 5 competitors.

  1. Raymond Bass (USA) 6.7 seconds
  2. William Galbraith (USA) 6.8 seconds
  3. Thomas Connolly (USA) 7.0 seconds

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