The second iteration of Olympic sport climbing is bringing about a format change and twice the number of medals. As a result, new and old faces alike will be hunting for one of the four gold medals on offer in Paris.

Below are some of the biggest storylines from the world of sport climbing that will have an impact on the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games.

Number of medal events doubled for Paris 2024

For sport climbing's Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, all three disciplines (speed, bouldering and lead) were combined into one overall medal event. But because speed climbing requires a very different skillset from the other two events, the decision was controversial within the sport climbing community.

While most within the sport would prefer to see all three disciplines contested separately, a change made for the Paris Olympics will still offer an improvement. The speed event has been split off into its own standalone event for 2024, while bouldering and lead remain part of a combined event.

With two medal events instead of just one, there will also be more climbers overall with a chance to compete in Paris.

Women's speed

Aleksandra Miroslaw didn't leave Tokyo with a medal, but she did walk away with a world record. During the final round of the competition, the Polish athlete set a world record (6.84 seconds) in women's speed climbing. Due to the nature of the Olympic format that year — Miroslaw is much more proficient in speed climbing than the more technical disciplines of bouldering and lead — she ended up with a fourth-place finish overall.

Now that speed climbing is a standalone event for Paris 2024, Miroslaw is favored to get her first Olympic gold medal. Since the last Olympics, she's continued breaking her own world records. At a World Cup event in April 2023, she even broke her record four times during the competition. At the European Olympic Qualifier in September 2023, she broke the record once more, and it now stands at 6.24 seconds.

That's not to say that Miroslaw is unbeatable, though. At the 2023 World Championships, she slipped at the start of her semifinal heat against American Emma Hunt and did not finish the race. That sent Hunt through to the final and earned her a silver medal.

Hunt, the 2021 World Cup season champion and 2022 season runner-up, has emerged as a legitimate Olympic medal contender at age 21.

Men's speed

Indonesia's Veddriq Leonardo has been the man to beat in speed climbing. The three-time reigning World Cup season champion is also the current world record holder (4.90 seconds). However, after being upset in the first round at the 2023 World Championships, Leonardo will need to go through the Olympic Qualifier Series to secure his spot in Paris.

Leonardo is part of a deep men's team of Indonesian speed climbers. Only China can claim to match Indonesia's depth. Indonesia's Rahmad Adi Mulyono and China's Long Jinbao are qualified for the Paris Games, but each country can still qualify one more athlete via the Olympic Qualifier Series.

Despite the success of those two countries, it was an Italian man, Matteo Zurloni, who won the 2023 world title.

Meanwhile, American Sam Watson has emerged on the scene. The 18-year-old is the reigning Pan American Games champion and holds the U.S. record in men's speed climbing with a time of 5.02 seconds.

Women's bouldering and lead

Thanks to her prowess in both disciplines, reigning Olympic champion Janja Garnbret of Slovenia remains the athlete to beat in any event that combines bouldering and lead climbing. At the 2023 World Championships, Garnbret won the bouldering title and finished second in lead. She then won the combined world title with ease.

Behind Garnbret, the U.S. has shown podium potential from Natalia Grossman and Brooke Raboutou. Grossman is the three-time reigning World Cup season champion in bouldering, and Raboutou earned a bronze medal in bouldering at the 2023 World Championships. Raboutou narrowly missed the podium for both lead climbing (fifth) and the combined event (fourth) at Worlds.

Men's bouldering and lead

Austria's Jakob Schubert, the bronze medalist in Tokyo, won his fourth world title in lead and his first world title in the bouldering and lead combined event in 2023, setting himself up as the favorite entering Paris 2024.

Taking silver behind Schubert in the men's combined event at Worlds was Colin Duffy. The American made his Olympic debut in Tokyo at age 17 and placed seventh, but is now set to return to the Olympics with bigger ambitions.

Meanwhile, a new star could be rising in the form of Japan's Sorato Anraku. The 17-year-old asserted himself on the World Cup circuit last year, winning the 2023 season titles individually in both bouldering and lead. He also finished second in lead climbing at last year's World Championships and fourth in both bouldering and the combined event.