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Briançon – The Only World Cup of 2020

The emotionally charged Briançon World Cup became the first of the 2020 season. This event was the most highly broadcasted World Cup in IFSC history.

On Aug. 21, Briançon hosted what would become the first, and only, International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup of 2020. The long awaited competition opened to an excited, though masked, audience who celebrated 17 of the world’s greatest climbers.

The competition began with a semifinal’s round before moving to Finals the following day. According to a press release from the IFSC, this competition would become the most internationally broadcasted World Cup in history. “Compared to last year’s World Cup in Briançon, the number of broadcasting deals signed by the IFSC increased by 38%, setting a new highest record.”

This is a promising sight amidst the pandemic as it lends hope to an industry struggling under the weight of COVID-related climbing restrictions. According to IFSC President Marco Scolaris, “The world needs sports. The IFSC is proud to give the stage here in Briançon (FRA) to our athletes who were able to travel and participate in the event. The battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but we want to give hope to those who are fighting and those who cannot travel. May the images of our athletes climbing inspire our world.”

Adam Ondra – photo by Jan Virt

The Finals rounds on August 22 brought with them strong performances from Italy’s Laura Rogora and the Czech Republic’s Adam Ondra. The rounds opened with the women’s Finals, in which Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret would climb proficiently, topping the final’s route alongside Rogora. Though they performed equally well in Finals, Garnbret would take home the silver after not placing as highly as Rogora in the semifinal round. Rogora’s win would be her first World Cup Podium of her career.

Rounding out the podium, France’s Fanny Gibert would take home bronze in what would become her first Lead Final. Gibert’s performance is impressive as she is classically known for her strength in bouldering on the international circuit. Gibert would go on to dedicate her climb to her late teammate Luce Douady.

For the men, Ondra appeared to dominate the competition as the only climber to top out the final’s route. Slovenia’s Domen Skofic would finish in second after a strong performance, while Austria’s Jakob Schubert would take home third. Ondra release a video about the competition here. Though Briançon will be the only World Cup of 2020, the Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania Continental Championships are still scheduled to take place this year.

Luce’s family closed the highly emotional event with a 7,500 euro donation to CAC (Climbers Against Cancer). The tribute concluded with Luce’s own words, read by her father, stating, “I picture myself clipping the anchor, and there’s a great release, I feel a joy that I can’t conceal; a joy that’s so pure, so true, so strong inside of me, that it has to spill out… I spread it everywhere: to each face, each person I meet, I pass on my love of life and my cheerfulness.”

Left to right: Janja Garnbret, Laura Rogora, Fanny Gibert – photo by Jan Virt

Featured photo of Jakob Schubert by Jan Virt.