Olypmics 2020: Jongwon Chon


© Eddie Fowke

Seoul, South Korea
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IFSC World Cup Wins Podiums
Speed 0PB: 6.60s 0
Boulder 5 5
Lead 0 0
View IFSC profile

IFSC Overall Boulder World Cup 2015 - Gold

IFSC Overall Boulder World Cup 2017 - Gold

IFSC Combined World Cup 2017 - Silver

IFSC Boulder World Championships 2018 - Silver

Asian Games 2018 Combined - Gold








Jongwon Chon (KOR) Age: 25

Initially a Lead and Speed climber, Jongwon Chon's progression to making two finals in his first IFSC Boulder World Cup circuit at the age of 18 - just four years after starting climbing - marked him out as one to watch. The following year he reached four finals and won his first World Cup in Haiyang, China, before going on to win the overall title. In 2016, his performance dipped slightly with a 4th place finish overall, but he returned in 2017 to take the win once again.

Chon's fluid climbing style with light footwork and incredible finger strength are well-suited to old-school style problems, but occasionally more power-based and co-ordination problems have set him back. He's a highly likeable personality on the competition circuit, and is frequently seen interacting with athletes from other teams. As in many Asian countries, the Korean climbing scene is growing rapidly and is based around "crews" of climbers known as 'dong-ho-hwe', which has helped to foster a new generation of strong and motivated climbers who grew up watching Jain Kim and Hyunbin Min on the IFSC circuit. Chon credits training alongside teammate Sol Sa as being formative in his progression.

Qualification route

Asian Continental Quota Place (IFSC World Championships Hachioji 2019)

Chon was the highest-ranked non-Japanese Asian climber in Hachioji, but he failed to deliver in Toulouse at his next opportunity, finishing in 17th place. The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the postponed IFSC Asia Continental Championship in Chongqing after China announced it wouldn't be hosting any international sporting events prompted some people to believe that the event was cancelled, which meant that Chon would earn a quota place on countback to Hachioji as the highest-placed eligible Asian competitor. Chon hesitantly announced that he would be going to Olympics on social media, but the IFSC eventually announced a rescheduling of the event to Xiamen in December, which never happened. After a prolonged state of limbo, Chon was ultimately awarded the Asian ticket alongside compatriot Chaehyun Seo. 


Chon has featured in Elle Korea magazine and famously entertained the crowd by dancing with close friend Jernej Kruder during their Adidas Rockstars head-to-head. 

UKC prediction

A Gold medal ahead of Kokoro Fujii (JPN) and Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) in the 2018 Asian Games in the Combined discipline shows that Chon has the potential for good results in Tokyo. He has occasional off-seasons, such as 2016 and 2019, when he had a slow start to the boulder season and ended with just one 3rd place. If he can secure a good Boulder score and work on his Lead and Spedd in the run-up to Tokyo, Chon could make finals. We're not sure given the uncertainty he's had to deal with that he will have had perfect preparation, so perhaps a top-10 finish is more likely for Chon.

© Eddie Fowke
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