Benchmark Talent has announced that it will exclusively represent and provide CSR advisory to the UK’s Lead Climbing Champion and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Molly Thompson-Smith. Molly joins fellow Tokyo contender and para-triathlete Jade Jones-Hall on the Benchmark roster, alongside a high profile list of talent including Olympic sprint legend Michael Johnson, Paralympic great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, two weight world champion boxer Carl Frampton, Olympic hockey gold medallists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh and Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood.
In addition to profile development, commercial partnerships, communications and appearances, the partnership will include CSR advisory and development with the support of Benchmark sister company and social change consultancy thinkBeyond. Benchmark Talent specialises in working with individuals that care about their role in society, and provides strategic consultancy, narrative creation and commercial development to build long term, valuable careers that go hand in hand with social impact.
Thompson-Smith is the UK’s shining light in Lead Climbing. A five time National Champion at only 20 years old and currently ranked 7th in the World she is widely expected to compete in Tokyo as climbing enters the Olympics for the first time. Born into the diverse community of Ladbroke Grove in London, Molly started climbing at her local Westway Sports Centre and by the age of 16 had won the European Youth Cup and was ranked World Junior no 1. Since joining the Senior tour she has continued to achieve impressive results, coming 3rd in the Senior Lead World Cup in Kranj, Slovenia in 2017, and finishing 7th in the world rankings. With the support of the Sky Sports Scholar programme she focuses full time on climbing and splits her time between Sheffield and Innsbruck.
Sport climbing was one of five new sports announced by the IOC to join the line up in Tokyo, with surfing, skateboarding, karate and baseball/softball also making their debut. The inclusion of the package of new sports formed part of a deliberate strategy outlined by Thomas Bach to increase the Olympics’ appeal to a younger and more urban audience.
Commenting on the new partnership Molly Thompson-Smith said ‘Benchmark stood out to me as a management agency as they put positive social change at the heart of what they do. My parents have always played important roles within our community in Ladbroke Grove and have inspired me to look to do the same in my own career. I am proud to show the strength of female athletes and passionate about widening the appeal of climbing beyond its traditional audience. The UK’s black population has the lowest climbing participation rates of any group and I would love to encourage a more diverse community to try the sport. With Benchmark’s support I’m looking forward to building a career that not only provides a solid commercial base, but also allows me to have long term impact in the areas that I care about.’
Executive Director of Benchmark Talent Lisa Markey said ‘Climbing is set to be compulsive viewing as it takes to the Olympic stage for the first time and we’re honoured to be working with one of GB’s leading athletes. Molly perfectly embodies female physical strength, diversity within sport and the new urban audience that the Olympic movement is reaching out to. She has an agility and grace on the wall that is mesmerising to watch and we’re incredibly excited to help develop her career over the long term.’