Kennesaw State student earns spot in speed climbing for 2024 Olympics in Paris

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 21, 2023

Kennesaw State University student Emma Hunt has qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics scheduled for Paris. She earned a silver medal Aug. 10 in the speed climbing world championship in Bern, Switzerland.

Emma Hunt will compete in the 2024 Olympics

A 20-year-old exercise science major from Woodstock, Ga., Hunt posted a time of 6.672 seconds in her second-place finish Aug. 10 in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Championships. Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi of Indonesia took the gold medal with a climb of 6.492 seconds.

“I couldn’t believe it. It still has not really sunk in yet,” Hunt said Wednesday. “Qualifying to compete in Paris is something I have been dreaming of and working toward for a long time.”

Hunt began speed climbing in 2015 and within four years was setting records. The proximity between KSU’s Kennesaw Campus and her training gym, Stone Summit Climbing off George Busbee Parkway was convenient, she said. And as her standing in the competitive climbing arena continued to rise, the ability KSU offered to study online was helpful as well.

“I have been taking just online classes for a little while now, which is super helpful for my training and travel schedule,” Hunt said. “I’m lucky I can pursue my athletic career and college education with facilities for both so close together.”

Not many of Hunt’s classmates and professors were even aware she will now be an Olympic athlete.

“I have heard from a couple friends that go to KSU. I have been really focused and I didn’t tell many people about the competition so I am not sure how many non-climbing friends or if any professors know,” Hunt said.

Speed climbing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo games in 2020. Competitors climb a 50-foot wall studded with hand and foot holds. Pairs of climbers race to the top side-by-side throughout the competitions. Hunt holds the U.S. record.

“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. “I’m sure the volume will ramp up!”

Emma Hunt took silver in the speed climbing world championship to earn a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics

Hunt won’t be the first Owl to compete in the Olympics. The most recent of several KSU Olympians was Daniel Haugh, who competed in the final of the hammer throw in the 2020 Olympics and finished 11th overall.

– By Gary Tanner

– Photos by Daniel Gajda

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