Colin Duffy envisioned himself sport climbing at the Tokyo Olympics by climbing a 49-foot wall in 6.23 seconds.
In the qualifying round, the 17-year-old Broomfield resident took the sixth of 20 participants in the seconds-long Speed Climbing race, the first discipline of the three-part series of sport climbing. After the speed lap, the climbers started bouldering and then leading. After the three disciplines in the qualification on Tuesday, Duffy reached third place in the final on Thursday.
“For 17-year-old Colin Duffy, a dream has come true and not just a fairy tale to write home about. He climbed very well in the first two events, ”said a sports spokesman during the qualifying round on Tuesday.
While speed climbing is about racing up the wall that has remained the same for decades – vertically, the bouldering round challenges climbers to methodically climb an artificial wall without a harness. Route setters design the wall, which was only revealed at the beginning of the discipline. The athletes each tried four different bouldering routes, also known as problems. Duffy finished fifth in the bouldering qualification.
In the lead discipline, climbers had to use a harness to follow a set route on another 49-foot wall that is most similar to outdoor climbing. The rating is based on how far the climbers get up the wall. Duffy took second place.
The three separate rankings are multiplied to achieve a combined score. As in golf, the lower the better. The eight climbers with the lowest scores reached the final to compete again in the three disciplines.
“What a crazy day of climbing, I don’t even have the words to describe how excited I am!” Duffy posted on his Instagram on Tuesday, adding that he was so proud to have it with his team USA climber Nathanial Coleman to have made it to the final. Coleman posted on his Instagram on Tuesday that Duffy “went into beast mode today.”
Sport climbing, along with baseball / softball, karate, skateboarding, and surfing, was one of five sports added or reintroduced to the Olympics this year.
The sport climbing final began on Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m. mountain time and lasted several hours. After a false start and a fifth place in the speed lap, Duffy took fourth place in bouldering and third in the lead in the final. He was seventh overall,
As he climbed the baffle, sports officials said Duffy could earn the gold medal if he got 42 moves or points on the wall.
“He is now four moves away from Adam Ondra (from the Czech Republic who made 42 moves). He could send the signal to possibly become the first Olympic champion in this sport. Colin Duffy has up to 39 moves now, three moves away from Ondra … 40 moves. This young star, this young phenomenon. “
Then Duffy slipped trying to get a foothold on a small red handle that dangled it from his harness. His hands held his head in frustration.
“… Sport climbing is so close,” the sports announcer continued as Duffy lowered himself to the ground. “He was a step away from possibly becoming an Olympic champion.”
Despite not winning a medal, Duffy, the youngest competitor in sport climbing, made a name for himself on the international scene.
US teammate Coleman, 24, took silver and won the United States’ first climbing medal. Alberto Ginés López from Spain won gold and Jakob Schubert from Austria won bronze.
Duffy trains at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder, together with 20-year-old Brooke Raboutou, also on the US sport climbing team. According to his Team USA online bio, Duffy has been climbing since he was five, loves puzzles and Rubik’s cubes, and hopes to go to college to study engineering. He’s also passionate about saving animals and saved a dog named Lucky and a cat named Sparky, the bio says.
In 2019, Duffy told the Broomfield Enterprise that attending the 2020 Olympics is not his current goal, but he plans to train for sport climbing in the 2024 Olympics.
“I think it’s just a really good sport for life,” said Duffy, then 15, the Enterprise in 2019. “I’ll climb as long as I can while I’m still physically able to do it.”
On July 26, Duffy posted on his Instagram account that the pandemic that put the Olympics on hold for a year was a hidden blessing for him.
“Instead of just a few months, I was able to have another year to train and prepare.” He wrote various photos of him climbing in a caption. “I was allowed to compete in my first World Cup in every discipline, where I even won a medal, and overall I have grown as an athlete and as a person. Although the last 16 months have been a pretty wild ride, I’m grateful to finally be able to train here in Japan in the beautiful city of Hachioji before the competition starts next week. Everything is starting to feel real !! “
The Stargate Charter School student has competed in dozens of competitions including first place in the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s 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 the lead in various youth competitions of the International Federation of Sport Climbing.
The Stargate School announced on their Facebook page on Wednesday: “One of our own Stargate Eagles is taking part in the Tokyo Olympics !!” He later added, “We are so very proud of Colin! Go Colin !! “