As Olympic ambitions take root, it's worth examining the merits of having kids compete at a young age Author: John Burgman Publish date: Apr 10, 2019 Kyra Condie, the winner of this year’s Combined Invitational, started climbing on her local gym’s team when she was 11 years old. Ashima Shiraishi first hopped on the boulders of Central Park when she was six. And Brooke Raboutou famously started climbing around the same time that she started to walk—and was leading routes by the time she was five. While the skill sets of these stars are exceptional, starting on a climbing and competing tract at such a young age is increasingly common as more gyms foster robust youth teams, host kids’ comps such as the Mesa Rim Grom Cup, and in some instances—like at North Carolina’s Climbmax—offer various levels of youth training camps. But with competing can come a lot of extraneous pressures, such as the anxiety of having to perform well, a … [Read more...] about Youth Competitions: How Young Is Too Young to Train and Compete?
Author: John Burgman Publish date: Mar 11, 2019 Sports don’t always have happy endings. Sometimes the most highly-touted athletes don't win the big one, and other times it seems as if the universe is conspiring against the hopes of loyal fans. In that vein, despite her meteoric rise to climbing stardom, Margo Hayes had not won a national championship since 2016. In the past few years, she has become a face of The North Face, a star of Reel Rock films, and she has been credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women with multiple 5.15 sends. She is arguably the biggest name in American sport climbing today. Yet, her recent competition results have not represented her renown and proven supremacy: fifth place at the recent Combined Invitational, third place at this year’s Bouldering Open Nationals, and fourth place at last year’s Sport Nationals. So, despite superb efforts from the other competitors at this past weekend’s Sport and Speed Nationals … [Read more...] about USA Climbing 2019 Sport and Speed Nationals: Highs and Lows
Author: John Burgman Publish date: Feb 4, 2019 What a difference a year makes. At the conclusion of the 2018 Bouldering Nationals, Ashima Shiraishi was stepping up to the second-place spot on the podium, literally and figuratively looking up at winner Alex Puccio—the unquestionable empress of American competition bouldering. Although Shiraishi had won Sport Nationals in 2017, she had yet to claim an adult national title for bouldering—and thus fulfill her role as the torchbearer of the new generation of superstars. At the conclusion of this year’s Bouldering Nationals in the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, in contrast, it was Shiraishi who reigned supreme in the women’s division; she topped 12 out of the 14 total boulders in a grueling, highly-competitive weekend of qualifying, semi-final, and final rounds. Shiraishi not only won the championship, the 17-year-old did so by flashing the final three boulders—including a … [Read more...] about USA Climbing 2019 Bouldering Nationals: Highs and Lows
A look at the first-even USA Climbing combined-format event Author: John Burgman Publish date: Jan 22, 2019 This weekend, USA Climbing held it's first Olympic-format competition with their Combined Invitational in Salt Lake City, Utah. The event, which was held at Momentum Lehi and Momentum Millcreek, had athletes compete in speed climbing, bouldering, and sport climbing, blending the disciplines into a climbing triathlon. It was the first time many of the athletes had competed in the format. The firsts did not stop there, however, as the last-minute announcement of a broadcasting partnership between USA Climbing and ESPN put the livestream on ESPN3. But after all the prologue, the competition delivered plenty of action-packed drama. In the women’s division, Kyra Condie emerged victorious and became the first member of USA Climbing's overall national team. She clinched the win when she stuck a cruxy rose move in the lead climbing discipline—a … [Read more...] about USA Climbing 2019 Combined Invitational: Highs and Lows