Team USA Breaks Through

Gripped

Colin Duffy

Where many in both the men’s and women’s category felt fatigue from the Boulder World Cup, American Colin Duffy appeared unfazed. His gold medal victory in Boulder did not detract from today’s competition where he persisted longer than the rest. Duffy became the first male athlete in IFSC history to earn gold in both Boulder and Lead at the same World Cup.

Duffy struggled to find his ground in beginning of the Boulder Season but has appeared to break through this plateau. Even he appeared surprised by today’s win. Although Duffy is an impressive lead climber, teammate Jesse Grupper has on sighted up to 5.14c. He even won US Lead Nationals. The impressive pair are nearly indistinguishable in terms of ability on the wall, but Grupper tends to have an edge on all things pumpy.

Though he came within a move of Duffy’s high-point, Grupper finished with a bronze medal. He earned bronze as Ao Yurikasa tied Grupper with a score of 37+. As they tied in semi-finals, their scores were separated by time-to-highpoint. This is Grupper’s first World Cup medal ever and his first international Lead competition since 2019.

This medal became America’s third of the Lead World Cup with Brooke Raboutou earning bronze in her first competition post-sabbatical. Raboutou took the last World Cup off to refocus and train, and it appeared her efforts paid off. Teammate, World Champion, Innsbruck Boulder bold medalist and 2022 World Cup Series winner Natalia Grossman ultimately earned sixth in finals. She appeared to slide off the sun-baked holds in finals, an unsurprising result considering the intense fatigue she must have felt at the end of the Boulder World Cup season.

Setting

Although the routes themselves were wonderfully set in terms of movement and aesthetics, they failed to separate the athletes. In both the men’s and women’s category, medal positions were separated by time to the holds. This is the default. if ties occur throughout the competition. When counting back to the previous rounds results fails to separate the athletes, time-to-highpoint is used instead.

This separated the silver and bronze medals in the men’s category and the bronze medal from fourth in the women’s category. Although separation does occur this way, this method fails to commend the routesetting. When this sort of separation occurs, the discipline turns from a lead to a speed discipline, testing different skills. With five women topping the semi-finals route, proper separation in the women’s final became a high priority. Ultimately, it was only partially achieved.

Chaehyun Seo, Brooke Raboutou, and Laura Rogora each scored 27+ and were separated by time in the following manner: Seo 2:41; Raboutou 2:52; Rogora 2:57.