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  • Writer's pictureCIA

First World Cup of the year

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

It's back to normal. Finally! At least that's how it feels. For now.

To say the normal ain't so normal anymore would be an exaggeration, but some things undoubtedly have changed. Some for the better, some for the worse, and some...remains to be seen.

Just some basic climbing again...


It was great seeing all the familiar faces again, and even without masks in most cases. And finally there were spectators as well. A climbing competition certainly isn't the same without the cheers from the crowd!

To write about everything that went down during these three(!) days of competition is a bit much, so I'll try to be brief and to the point.


Results

  1. Janja Garnbret, SLO

  2. Natalia Grossman, USA

  3. Andrea Kümin, SUI

  4. Oriane, Bertone, FRA

  5. Futaba Ito, JPN

  6. Staša Gejo, SRB

No huge surprises really. Janja is in a completely different division, commenting that everything was "just basic climbing", and between her and the rest, there's Natalia. This could, and will, of course change over time, but this was the impression now. With Janja taking a break from competitions, Natalia will have to accept being the favorite, and she'll be challenged not only by the Meiringen finalists, but also from the likes of Brooke, Miho, Chaehyun and others in the coming competitions.

  1. Tomoa Narasaki, JPN

  2. Yoshiyuko Ogata, JPN

  3. Mejdi Shalk, FRA

  4. Paul Jenft, FRA

  5. Colin Duffy, USA

  6. Kokoro Fujii, JPN

Many big names failed to reach semis, and one way of illustrating this is that the three medalists from the Olympic Games were among those:

  • Alberto Ginés Lopez: 80th

  • Nathaniel Coleman: 21st

  • Jacob Schubert: 37th

It should be mentioned Jakob hade huge problems with bleeding on his knuckles after dry firing on the very first problem.

It felt like the final could have gone either way actually and it will not go down in history as one of the better. It was memorable in terms of controversy however. More about that below.


There will be blood

A few things concerning the route setting:

  1. The problem of the uhm... problem shouldn't be establishing in the start position. The way I see it the idea of a starting position is, surprise, surprise, to start where the route setters want you to, as opposed to jumping or cheating in some other unforeseen way. In Meiringen there were lots of examples where gaining the starting position was the very crux. No one likes that. No one.

  2. Every round should test the athletes' abilities in as many styles as possible. The men's final was, in my opinion, a blatant example of a round where this wasn't the case. On the contrary, all the problems revolved around dynoing, and although this could be spectacular and crowd pleasing, too much of a good/the same thing is never a good idea.

  3. What's up with this obsession with cracks in Meiringen? It was fun and a novelty once, but forcing a dyno into a gnarly fist jam with sharp edges... Come on! I think we were lucky no one was seriously injured. Already early in the round the inside of the crack had a layer of skin and blood inside, and Gregor Vezonik jammed his fist so deep into it he needed help to get it out. No joke!

Some were really pissed off about the crack feature...

Men's #3

In my opinion, there were a couple of things that lead to the unfortunate situation with the third problem in the Men's final. Most importantly, as mentioned above, establishing in the start position shouldn't be the problem as it's just the START. If you have to make this that difficult: sorry, you've failed with the rest of the problem. Simple as that.

To make it worse, the judge of this particular problem was very slow to call the athletes down after making false starts, and in Colin's case, he wasn't called down at all, even though it was clear to see he doubted if the start was correct himself.

Well, in the end he got the top, but maybe the lack of rest cost him the victory. Could he have topped #4 if he were more fresh?

"Are you entertained?"

Discovery/Streaming

Contrary to many others I'm not convinced the deal with Discovery is such a bad thing. Sure, streaming is not free anymore, but if we want the sport to grow, this could be the way to go. Of course, especially the commentary need to improve, but this is hardly an unsolvable problem. Regarding the cost, €70/year, or €1.35/week, should be manageable for most families.

How the IFSC decides to use the money, and who benefits, is of course a completely different question. I guess we'll see.


The Photos

Another controversial question in Meiringen concerned photos of the problems, which were posted in the isolation, prior to the qualification rounds. It seems pretty much everyone thought this was a bad idea. The reasons behind this rule change are unclear to me and my guess is we won't see this again anytime soon.


Onwards

Now the World Cup circuit moves on to Seoul and Salt Lake City x 2 before returning to Europe and Brixen in June.

None of us will be in Seoul but Vladek is considering going to SLC. Both of us will be in Brixen and then Innsbruck, Villars, Chamonix and so on.





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