Homework, prom and … gold medals.
Colin Duffy, 17, is opening up about how he’s managed to juggle being a high school student with his climbing career, especially in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“It’s not super easy to balance everything,” Duffy, of Broomfield, Colorado, tells PEOPLE during the Team USA Tokyo Olympics Media Summit, “but I just have adjusted to a pretty busy schedule, I manage my time well through training and climbing and getting assignments done.”
The high school junior adds of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Olympics delay, “Through these hard times I’ve been able to climb lots and also succeed academically. So, I’m fortunate enough to just be able to manage everything.”
Duffy, who is the youngest member of the USA Climbing team, also notes that his school’s shift to virtual learning amid the pandemic has afforded him more training availability. He explains, “School being online for the majority of this year has also been super beneficial since I have a lot more free time than I typically would.”
The athlete started climbing when he was just five years old, learning at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder where he still trains today with Brooke Raboutou, a fellow USA Climbing team member.
Duffy is now a 10-time Youth National Champion, and won gold at the 2020 IFSC Pan-American Championships.
This year marks the first time that climbing has been a sport at the Olympic Summer Games. Men’s and women’s climbers will separately compete in three disciplines — speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing — to be in contention for a medal.