The first climbing competitions were organised in the former USSR in the late 1940s. These events were focused on Speed Climbing. In 1985, in the Olympic town of Bardonecchia, Italy, Andrea Mellano and Emanuele Cassarà, a well-known Italian sports journalist, gathered a group of the best climbers for an event called "SportRoccia" held at a natural crag in Valle Stretta. It was the first organized Lead competition, launching a new era of modern Sport Climbing. The success was repeated the following year in 1986 when Arco di Trento became host to the second SportRoccia event. More than 10,000 people attended the finals, including seven European tv stations. The same year, the French Federation organized the first indoor event at a gymnasium in Vaulx-en-Velin.
Sport Climbing had grown substantially with the addition of the World Series in 1988 and the first World Cup in Speed and Lead in 1989. In the early 1990s it was decided that International events would be run only on artificial walls, in order to eliminate any environmental impact. In 1991, the first World Championship was organized in Frankfurt, Germany. At the International level, the French Federation and Paul Brasset lead a movement to convince the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation to officially recognize the competitive Sport Climbing circuit. As a result, Brasset created a new organization within the UIAA and created competition rules.
In 1997, a new structure, the ICC - International Council for Competition Climbing was created inside the UIAA, in order to guarantee sufficient autonomy to the sport. In 1998, Bouldering was officially introduced as a new climbing discipline. In 2006, the UIAA decided to end its governance of Competition Climbing and supported the creation of an independent International Federation to govern this sport. In 2007, in Frankfurt, Germany 57 Federations founded the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). In 2010, the IOC gave definitive recognition to the IFSC, officially welcoming it as part of the Olympic Family. In 2016 Sport Climbing was officially confirmed as an additional sport for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by the IOC Session.