Finals wrapped in Briançon this weekend with narrow victories in both the men’s and women’s categories. Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret continued her clean sweep of the 2022 Lead World Cup Series, while Team USA’s Jesse Grupper secured his third World Cup medal of the season.
A Well Set Women’s Category
After last week’s competition at Innsbruck, Janja Garnbret reflected and shared her thoughts about the round’s separation. I brief, she was disappointed. At Innsbruck, Garnbret joined three other athletes atop the final route. To avoid ties, The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has rules that separate the categories when the routes themselves provide similar scores across competitors.
Normally, scores countback to the previous round if there is a tie in finals. Whoever qualified best in semis, then, would win. At Innsbruck, ties were held between many of the top competitors, causing one to lose out on podium despite topping the route. Garnbret spoke to this point in her post.
To their credit, the setters made a better set finals route for the women’s category. It appeared that increased attention was brought toward separating that category after last week’s debacle. Garnbret won the hard fought round by less than a full move. Korea’s Chaehyun Seo followed and America’s Natalia Grossman finished the podium by countbacks after scoring the same as teammate Brooke Raboutou.
Men’s Category Sees Firsts
Jesse Grupper earned his first World Cup gold medal this afternoon, climbing two holds further than the competition. The American started the season strong with a bronze, and has since proved himself consistent across competitions.
As one of the few athletes to have onsighted 5.14c, Grupper’s performance may not seem surprising, however, even Ondra struggles to maintain consistency on the World Cup stage. Despite his incredible skill on rock, Ondra gets pumped. Grupper, by comparison, seems more than capable of completing as many moves as his competition.
With that said, Grupper has not faced off against Ondra yet this season. What’s more, Ondra’s inconsistency on lead last year may have resulted more from the Olympic training schedule than a lack of ability.
Although many will take Grupper’s gold as the highlight of the round, Alex Megos earned his first lead medal this weekend after numerous performances that fell short of his ambitions. Megos is another incredible athlete on rock that struggles to make the podium on the World Cup circuit.
His result today was one he built to over the length of his last Boulder and Lead seasons.
Canadian 17-year-old Oscar Baudrand made semi-finals in Briançon this weekend, his best result of the season. Baudrand expressed his frustration with progression in competition on his Instagram, earlier this year, as he felt his training did not reflect his result.
As the youngest Canadian on the team, Baudrand has climbed well both this season and last. If he can maintain his progression, Baudrand could very well become one of the brightest stars in Canadian climbing.
1 – Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2 – Chaehyun Se0 (KOR)
3 – Natalia Grossman (USA)
4 – Brooke Raboutou (USA)
5 – Natsuki Tanii (JPN)
6 – Laura Rogora (ITA)
7 – Vita Lukan (SLO)
8 – Ryu Nakagawa (JPN)
1 – Jesse Grupper (USA)
2 – Taisei Homma (JPN)
3 – Alex Megos (GER)
4 – Yannick Flohé (GER)
5 – Colin DUffy (USA)
6 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
7 – Filip Schenk (ITA)
8 – Hamish McArthure (GBR)
9 – Luka Potocar (SLO)
Featured image of Janja Garnbret by Lena Drapella.