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Interview with Slovak Youth Olympian Peter Kuric

They started calling him the spiderman from Handlová, but at 17, the future Youth Olympian isn’t a big fan off the nickname.

Kuric will represent Slovakia at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, but is also thinking about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

How do you prepare for the top competition of this season in Buenos Aires? I did not expect to qualify to the Youth Olympics, especially on the climbing wall which I did not specially train for. Now I train very intensively, five times a week, sometimes every day and I focus on all three disciplines – lead, speed and bouldering. We also climb on the rocks sometimes where I clean my mind.

Climbing has become an Olympic sport. Did anything change for you? Probably I train a little more and more often on the wall which I wasn’t used to so much before. But otherwise it is not much different. It has brought me some sort of new motivation.

Do you already live the 2020 Olympic dream? Qualification to Tokyo will be in a year, so I want to concentrate mainly on the wall. My strong point is lead which is climbing with the rope. But I think that I have a good chance in bouldering as well and now I train speed the most, because we hadn’t have conditions in Slovakia for that. I didn’t want to fall behind in the world.

What are your biggest achievements and best times? I finished on the sixth place at European Cup and at the World Championship I was sixth as well. Normally I placed in top 15 within European competition. Then there are successes on rocks. In speed I climb the wall in about 8 seconds, but I definitely need to improve. In my category the juniors make it in 6.5 or 7 seconds. However, I don’t want to forget about other disciplines.

How is the competition? Where are the biggest rivals? Comparing to how I see the events in the world, athletes are far better than in Slovakia in terms of training. Developed countries are for example Japan, USA, France or Italy – these are climbing powers.

How did you actually start with climbing? I was about nine years old and my best friend and I attended some hobbies such as dance or something. He wanted to go climbing but I didn’t know anything about it. He and his mum talked me into it. Then I fell in love with climbing.

What do you like the most about this sport? I like the freedom and adrenalin. I can clean my mind on rocks, it is really cool.

Have you ever had a serious injury? Are you afraid sometimes? So far I haven’t done anything serious myself and I haven’t had any hard fall. There was some climbing wound like stretched tendon. It is relatively safe sport even though it does not seem to be. In my opinion it is safer than football or hockey.

Where do you feel the best? Do you have any favourite rock or wall? I prefer rocks rather than climbing walls because I can be in nature. I like travelling to the rocks in Spain or Austria. I like climbing walls in Austria as well and in Italy which is great also.

And what about Slovakia? We have many rocks in here. I like to go to Súľov or Banská Bystrice and Donovaly. Speaking about climbing walls, I go to Bratislava or Považská Bystrica. I also climb on ice but I will do it more when I’m older.

Do you have any climbing idols? I have to admit that I don’t have any idol; I try to concentrate on myself and on what it happening around me.

Do your parents have a fear that you have chosen such sport? She was afraid of me at the beginning. She thought it was dangerous but as long as I was with good people who taught me in the beginning, nothing bad could happen. Mum often drives me now and she helps me, so I’m thankful her. Even she tried climbing.

Your achievements make you well-known person. How do you feel about it? I like fans, especially when they support us during the competition. But I confess that when I’m on the wall, I turn off and I don’t feel anything and just focus on climbing.

And what about your original nickname? In our regional television they call me spiderman from Handlová but if I could choose – don’t call me like this. I do not mind but I do not like it either.

Peter Kuric