After an incredible evening, the second of two World Cups in Salt Lake City came to a close. Between the Men’s and Women’s fields, the route setters provided wildly different experiences for the athletes and the audience.
The competition began with four of the most difficult boulder problems in recent memory. Sean Bailey walked away with the victory, securing two tops and four zones, while the remainder of the field struggled to even get a single top.
Team Japan secured second through fourth positions, dominating Finals in some respect, but coming short of Gold. For Kokoro Fujii, his Silver Medal will mean a lot as the culmination of a great deal of work over these last two World Cups. Although Narasaki was on form, he did not cinch the Gold. With that said, of the Olympians present, he did finish at the top of the field. This will bode well for his aspirations in August.
While the Finals round was gruelling, the field, at this level required a difficult level of competition. By contrast, the Women’s field featured boulders arguably too easy for their level of performance. First and second position were separated by attempts as both Natalia Grossman and Janja Garnbret topped all four boulders. Brooke Raboutou took third with three tops and four zones.
While this did decide a victor, it leaves an unsavory taste in the mouths of spectators. With that said, it solicited the second World Cup victory in a row for Grossman. The most shocking aspect of this was the dethroning of Garnbret. Naturally both athletes climbed an incredible comp.
This cements Grossman as a World Class athlete among a World Class field. Team USA also featured a third place finish from Olympian Brooke Raboutou, spelling a strong performance from the young athlete.
As athletes return to their home-countries, there will be considerations for training and athlete development. It will become exciting to see what becomes of the field, how much these results functioned from the home-field advantage, and how much stemmed from a new set of elite climbers.
1 : Sean Bailey (USA)
2 : Kokoro Fujii (JPN)
3 : Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
4 : Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
5 : Zach Galla (USA)
6 : Maximillian Milne (GBR)
1 : Natalia Grossman (USA)
2 : Janja Garnbret (SLO)
3 : Brooke Raboutou (USA)
4 : Oriane Bertone (FRA)
5 : Stasa Gejo (SBR)
6 : Miho Nonaka (JPN)
Featured image by Daniel Gajda