Colin Duffy entered the sport climbing at the Tokyo Olympics by scaling a 49-foot-high wall in 6.23 seconds.
The 17-year-old Broomfield resident placed sixth out of 20 competitors in the second-round speed climbing race in the qualifying round, the first discipline in the three-part series of ‘sport climbing. After the speed test, the climbers faced each other in bouldering and then in climbing in the lead. After the three qualifying disciplines on Tuesday, Duffy qualifies for Thursday’s final in third place.
“For 17-year-old Colin Duffy, a dream has come true and not just a fairy tale to tell. He climbed really well in the first two events, ”said a sports reporter in Tuesday’s qualifying round.
While the goal of speed climbing is to run – vertically – on the wall that has followed the same route for decades, the bouldering tower challenges climbers to methodically climb an artificial wall without a harness. The tracers draw the wall, which was not revealed until the beginning of the discipline. The athletes each attempted four different bouldering routes, also known as problems. Duffy was fifth in the bouldering qualifying round.
In the lead discipline, climbers had to follow a route set on a different 49-foot wall on a harness, the category most similar to outdoor climbing. The score is based on the distance climbers cover the wall. Duffy placed second.
The three separate rankings are multiplied to achieve a combined score. Like in golf, the lower the better. The eight climbers with the lowest scores advanced to the finals to compete again in all three disciplines.
“What a crazy day of climbing, I can’t even describe how excited I am! Duffy posted on his Instagram on Tuesday, adding that he was so proud to have reached the final with fellow US team climber Nathanial Coleman. Coleman posted on his Instagram Tuesday that Duffy “went into beast mode today.”
Sport climbing was one of five sports to be added to or brought back to the Olympics this year, along with baseball / softball, karate, skateboarding and surfing.
The sport climbing finals began at 2:30 a.m. MT on Thursday morning and lasted for several hours. After a false start and a fifth place in the sprint event, Duffy placed fourth overall and third in the lead in the final. He finished seventh overall,
As he climbed the lead wall, sports commentators said Duffy could win the gold medal if he scores 42 moves or points on the wall.
“He’s now four strokes behind Adam Ondra (of the Czech Republic, who went to 42 strokes). He could set the stage for potentially becoming the sport’s first Olympic champion. Colin Duffy now counts up to 39 hits, three hits from Ondra… 40 hits. This young star, this young phenomenon.
Duffy then slipped as he tried to gain a foothold on a small red plug, sending him dangling from his harness. His hands were holding his head in frustration.
“… Sport climbing is so close,” the sports reporter continued as Duffy lowered himself to the ground. “He was far from potentially becoming the Olympic champion.”
Although he did not win a medal, Duffy, the youngest sport climbing competitor, made a name for himself on the international stage.
His 24-year-old American teammate Coleman took home silver, winning the United States’ first climbing medal. Alberto Ginés López of Spain won gold and Jakob Schubert of Austria won bronze.
Duffy trains at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder, with Brooke Raboutou, 20, also a member of the United States Sport Climbing Team. According to his Team USA online biography, Duffy has been climbing since he was 5, enjoys puzzles and Rubik’s Cubes, and hopes to study engineering in college. He is also passionate about rescuing animals and rescued a dog named Lucky and a cat named Sparky, the biography reads.
In 2019, Duffy told Broomfield Enterprise that competing in the 2020 Olympics was not his current goal, but that he planned to train for sport climbing at the 2024 Olympics.
“I think it’s just a really good sport for a lifetime,” Duffy, then 15, told Enterprise in 2019. “I’ll be climbing for as long as I can as long as I can. physically.”
On July 26, Duffy posted on his Instagram account that for him the pandemic forcing the Olympics to be put on hold for a year was a blessing in disguise.
“I was able to have another year to train and prepare instead of just a few months.” he captioned various photos of him climbing. “I’ve been to my first World Cups in every discipline, where I’ve even won a medal along the way, and overall I’ve grown as an athlete and as a person. Although the past 16 months have been a wild ride, I’m grateful to finally be here in Japan to train in the wonderful town of Hachioji before the competition starts next week. It’s all starting to feel real !! ”
The Stargate Charter School student has placed in dozens of competitions, including taking the combined first place at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Pan American Continental Championships in 2020 to qualify for the Olympics. From 2017 to 2019, he won first place twice and second place twice in lead climbing in various youth competitions of the International Federation of Sport Climbing.
Stargate School shared on its Facebook page on Wednesday: “One of our own Stargate Eagles is competing in the Tokyo Olympics !!” Later adding, “We are very proud of Colin! Come on Colin !! ”