‘I couldn’t believe it’: Kennesaw State University student makes 2024 Olympic speed climbing team
Emma Hunt, a Kennesaw State University exercise science student, has qualified for a spot on the U.S. speed climbing team for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The 20-year-old Woodstock native recently qualified for the Olympics after earning a silver medal at the International Federation of Sport Climbing World Championships in Switzerland on Aug. 10.
At the world championship, Hunt competed amongst a group of 50 women from all over and won second place with a time of 6.67 seconds. She was just 0.18 seconds behind the first-place winner, Desak Made Rita Kusum Dewi of Indonesia, who won a gold medal with a time of 6.49 seconds.
"I couldn't believe it. It still has not really sunk in yet," Hunt said to Kennesaw State in a press release article. "Qualifying to compete in Paris is something I have been dreaming of and working toward for a long time."
Hunt is the first sport climber from the U.S. to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Sports climbing first debuted at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where "there was only one event per gender, a combined event that included boulder, lead, and speed," per the official Olympics website.
At the 2024 Paris Olympics, there will be two new formats of sports climbing events for each gender: boulder and lead combined and speed climbing.
"In speed climbing, athletes will attempt to reach the top of a 15-meter wall as quickly as possible. The format will include a qualification round and races between two opponents. Victorious athletes will progress through a bracket to the finals, which will decide the first male and female Olympic speed climbing champions."
For speed climbing, the athletes will compete against each other to get the highest possible score, around 200.
Training and school
Hunt has been speed climbing since 2015 and completes her training at the Stone Summit Climbing, about five minutes from Kennesaw State University.
She says she is "lucky" to have her training center and school close to each other. It allows her to continue being a record-breaking athlete, all while being a student taking online classes.
"I have been taking just online classes for a little while now, which is super helpful for my training and travel schedule," Hunt said to KSU. "I'm lucky I can pursue my athletic career and college education with facilities for both so close together."
Hunt is part of a group of 13 athletes on the 2023 Speed Climbing National Team that will represent the U.S. at the 2024 Olympics, where she hopes to win a medal.
In the meantime, she is beginning to prepare for her more rigorous Olympic training.
"Being qualified for the Olympics is still very new, so I am not sure how my training will be different from my current training regiment," she said to KSU. "I'm sure the volume will ramp up!"
The schedule is subject to change, but the 2024 Paris Olympics Sport Climbing events are currently set to begin Monday, Aug. 5, 2024.