Benchmark Talent has added UK lead climbing champion and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Molly Thompson-Smith to its athlete portfolio.
The agency, which specialises in working with athletes who care about their role in society, will provide both representation and CSR advisory to the 20-year-old five-time UK champion from Ladbroke Grove.
Thompson-Smith joins fellow Tokyo contender and para-triathlete Jade Jones-Hall on the Benchmark roster, alongside high-profile talent including Olympic sprint icon 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.
The new partnership will cover profile development, commercial partnerships, communications and appearances in addition to CSR advisory and development with the support of Benchmark sister company and social change consultancy thinkBeyond.
Thompson-Smith is currently ranked 7th in the world in the lead climbing discipline and is widely expected to be among the contenders when sport climbing makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.
The event is among five new sports to be added to the Games in 2020 in line with a strategy to increase the Games’ appeal among younger and more urban audiences.
Thompson-Smith was born into the diverse community of Ladbroke Grove in London, where she began climbing at her local Westway Sports Centre. A former World Junior no 1, she has continued to impress at senior level, including coming 3rd in the Senior Lead World Cup in Kranj, Slovenia in 2017. She is a full-time professional athlete, supported by the Sky Sports Scholar programme.
Commenting on the agreement with Benchmark Talent, 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 added: “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.’
Benchmark Talent positions itself as a management agency that provides “strategic consultancy, narrative creation and commercial development to build long term, valuable careers that go hand in hand with social impact.”