Climbing: Route setting in Chamonix

I just checked what my last post was about since I was gone forever and it was about world cup lead climbing competition in Chamonix. And guess what my topic for this post is gonna be? Yes, it’s a climbing competition in Chamonix.

I am not gonna talk about the competition itself –  the results and stuff like that (well, partly yes but it’s not gonna be the main point) but I will talk about the route setting. First of all – let me say that Chamonix is one of my favorite competitions to watch because it’s always packed, the crowd is amazing, the scenery is awesome and to get there one day is on my bucket list.

My main talk point is gonna be the route setting in Chamonix. Before I start my “rant” – if I can say it like that – let me just state the fact that I KNOW that route setters have one of the hardest jobs. It’s definitely not easy to make routes so hard that they are gonna separate climbers in the best way possible. I know all of that.

If you missed out – this season brought some new rules in lead (and also in bouldering and speed) competition. Climbers now have only 6 minutes to make it to the top (it was 8 minutes before). But this isn’t important just for the climbers but also for route setters, I think. Because now climbers don’t have as much time to rest as they used to, the route probably can’t be as hard as they used to be. But what we saw in Chamonix was just … I don’t even know what to say. Ridiculous? Here are the results from men qualification:

22(!) climbers made it to the top of both qualifications routes! That almost meant that you had to get two tops to advance in the semis. Then in the semis we didn’t get to see the top at all (in the category of men, only Janja topped route for the women). Okay, I don’t have a problem if we don’t see the top. It happens. Then in the finals the route setting also didn’t go the way it should. Reaching the top didn’t get you a podium! Four climbers got the top and the home favorite got the unlucky 4th place. When the time is deciding the winner … Is that even lead climbing? Or are we getting some speed climbing too? Similar ‘problem’ happened in the women finals. But luckily there the top at least did get you to a podium. Here are results from both finals:

Anak didn’t have the best result in the semis but when she reached the top in the finals we could all see that she wasn’t so excited. She probably knew the route wasn’t that hard and other climber might get the top too and count back wasn’t gonna do her any good. Then during the live stream she had an interview. She was trying to be so nice and also honest at the same time and she said the route was too easy and the routes in the finals should be harder. Hannah Schubert who was co-commentating also said that the route is very easy – which was good for the first time finalists (we had a couple of them!) because they can enjoy more. Janja also said that the route was easy and that semis had a harder route.

Also do you remember Kranj last year? The last world cup of the season? We had an opposite problem there where all the guys fell very early in the route. All but Halenke who got a little higher. Otherwise we wouldn’t even get to see the second part of the route at all.

As I’ve said earlier – it’s hard to get the route done right, it’s tricky … but what happened in Chamonix was just bad. And it’s not a good “commercial” for the sport. Because of the shorter time the climbers have the routes might get easier, yes. But please, don’t forget route setters that these men and women are insanely strong. Make it hard for them, they want a great challenge as well, at least I think they do. I wasn’t the only one noticing that, there was talk about easy routes on Twitter as well.

Hopefully, this won’t happen again. We all love to see climbers get to the top but they can’t all get there, right? I wish route setters all the best at their job and I hope we are gonna see some amazing routes and competitions this season. Well, I don’t just hope. I’m pretty sure we will. 😉

At the same time (I won’t just criticize) I want to say again that I wanna give a huge thumbs up to the IFSC (or whoever decides this stuff) for the co-commentators, they have all been so much fun to listen to. From Alex Khazanov to Alannah Yip and Hannah Schubert, they have all been great. So keep it up!

What are your thoughts on route setting in Chamonix? Or somewhere else maybe? Do you like to co-commentators?

We’ll see when my next post is gonna be. Maybe earlier than the next competition in Chamonix. 😀

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Double Slovenian win in Chamonix

It was a happy day (or maybe it would be better to say evening) for Slovenian climbers and their fans since they took the win in both categories – men and female. Since I wasn’t at home I watched the finals today but it was still entertaining. Let’s see what was going on yesterday in Chamonix.

Chamonix

First I want to say that I loved the co-commentator during semis, it was one of the route-setters (sorry guys, I forgot the name) and it was so much fun listening to him, how he was cheering or saying how this isn’t the way to climb. He should be doing this more often. Also Delaney Miller was there during the finals and she also spoke about some interesting stuff but what I found the most charming was when she said how she gets excited every time Janja Garnbret likes her picture on Instagram (me too Delaney, haha :D). It’s so funny to hear how they are also excited about the little stuff. But now to the competition.

Since men competed first I am gonna start the same way.
I’m always hoping home climber will do well in front of their crowd (I think it’s something special) and that’s the reason I was a little bit sad when French finalists didn’t make it to podium. Gautier Supper and Romain Desgranges finished just behind the podium on 4th and 5th place. It was a very close final, only 2 holds difference between 2nd and 7th place, Francesco Vettorata fell a little earlier then other 6 and Domen Škofic made it a little bit higher.

Domen

I was very impressed with his heel hooks, he used that many times and well, looks like it paid off. I wish we saw at least one top (I always do – I want to see the whole route) but Domen got pretty close and it was enough for the win. This was his 2nd win, he won for the first time last season in Puurs and what a great start of the season for him. Stefano Ghisolfi who was leading after the semis got very close to Domen but it wasn’t enough for the win. The last one who made it to podium is Jakob Schubert and I guess there was a complaint or something because all the time during the finals we saw him get a result worse than Gautier but in the end he just made it to podium. Also Jakob seemed very pumped before he reached the last part of the wall and I was very impressed how he was just moving forward. Because he looked so pumped it seemed like he will just fall but he didn’t. In the end obviously, Domen was all smiles after his second win.

Podium

All men finals results:

  1. Domen Škofic, Slovenia
  2. Stefano Ghisolfi, Italy
  3. Jakob Schubert, Austria
  4. Gautier Supper, France
  5. Romain Desgranges, France
  6. Sebastian Halenke, Germany
  7. Sean McColl, Canada
  8. Francesco Vettorata, Italy

Ladies finals was second and after “top-less” semis and men finals, we finally got to see a top. And not just one! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
19 years old Swiss, Anne-Sophie Koller made her finals debut in Chamonix and finished 7th. Home crowd was disappointed when Charlotte Durif fell early on the wall and finished 8th. After winning last season world cup overall title Mina Markovič barely made it to the finals and the route setter who was commentating the semis said that he isn’t used to see her make so many mistakes. I think she had some problems during the climb in the end she and Yuka Kobayashi reached the same height but due to countback Yuka was 5th and Mina 6th (It’s weird to me when Mina is not on the podium). It was great to see Magadalena Röck back in the finals but she just missed the podium on 4th place.

The first one to reach the top was Anak Verhoeven. She climbed very composed, relax and as many people said – she made the route look easy. She didn’t seem pumped at all!

Anak

Anak was already so close to winning a world cup but again  with a top in the finals – it wasn’t enough. She secured the 2nd place after Jain Kim didn’t reach the top. She was very close and it looked like she’s gonna do it but she made a mistake just below the top which in the end was enough for 3rd place.
Last one out of the isolation zone was 17 years old Janja Garnbret. Last season she was at only 3 world cup competition but she made podium at all 3 events (twice 2nd and 3rd once), every single time Mina Markovič was ahead of her. But this time it was her time. She was leading after qualification then after the semis and in the end she won. It’s her first win but during her climbing I was a little scared because her legs slipped two times just a little below the top. But she did, she reached the top and she was so happy because she knew. She won the event!

Pure joy.
Pure joy.

I think we’re gonna see her win A LOT of times. At least if she keeps climbing like this. It seems like she doesn’t feel any pressure and she’s just climbing. So impressive. Janja was also the only female climber who managed to get a top in qualifications. So I think this was well deserved, she was the best after every single time and I’m excited to see her do all world cup events!
This is the female podium:

Podium W

Female finals results:

  1. Janja Garnbret, Slovenia
  2. Anak Verhoeven, Belgium
  3. Jain Kim, Korea
  4. Magdalena Röck, Austria
  5. Yuka Kobayashi, Japan
  6. Mina Markovič, Slovenia
  7. Anne-Sophie Koller, Switzerland
  8. Charlotte Durif, France

It was a fun competition but the next one is already around the corner! Climbers are moving to Villars, the next event starts on Friday. In case you missed Chamonix finals and you still want to watch it, you can do that here:

And for goodbye, here’s another picture of Chamonix, venue and atmosphere there – always amazing.

Chamonix2

I’m already excited for the next event, I hope I can watch it live and not with the replay. Have a good week!

TIMMY, THANK YOU!

If you were online today than you heard the news. The time has come. Tim Duncan retires after 19 years in the NBA.

Honestly, I really don’t know what to say. We all knew that this day is coming, we all knew it was very close but we (well or at least I) were hoping for another season. For the final season when we can properly say goodbye to one of the greatest. Fundamental. Living legend.
I’ve always wanted to see him play in person. Not just him but the whole Spurs. And I might get so see Spurs soon but it turns out I will never get to see Timmy rock that Spurs jersey. I am sad and grateful at the same time. Sad because he’s gone, he won’t play and it’s gonna be weird seeing Spurs without him. I can’t even imagine that yet. And grateful because he gave so much to the basketball. Not just Spurs but to everyone. He put team first and from what I’ve been reading he was an amazing teammate, awesome person and always humble.
He was and still is an idol to sooo many people. He inspired people.

I learned the news in the middle of the day. And I just couldn’t process it. Honestly, I still can’t.

The sad news.
The sad news.

It’s gonna be the end of October and there won’t be #21. Ever again.
Since obviously I can’t say or write anything smart I just wanna say it again:

TIMMY, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING! WE WILL MISS YOU. ❤

And that’s it. I just want to wish him all the best in the future. Lost of happiness, health and everything. And now we wait for the Hall of Fame.
I’m gonna end this blog with just some of his many achievements:

  • 19 season with Spurs
  • #1 NBA Draft pick
  • 5x NBA champion
  • 3x NBA Finals MVP
  • 2x NBA MVP
  • 10x All-NBA First Team
  • 8x NBA All-Defensive First Team
  • NBA Rookie of the Year
  • … and so much more

THANK YOU. #21 FOREVER.

Who’s gonna take Adam’s place? – Lead Season 2016 Preview

Hello dear readers, it’s been forever since I posted anything here but I have a pretty good reason. I missed writing so much but I am in my last year of college and I PASSED all my exams, I wrote all papers (I haven’t finished yet – I have to write master’s degree thesis), I was also working so yeah, I was pretty busy. But hopefully I will have more time for my blog. Lead season is a good ‘excuse’ to start writing again. Since I’m still busy at work sadly there will be no pictures but I will try to make it just as interesting.

Lead season starts on Monday which is very weird to me, I can’t remember World Cup competition not being on the weekend. Here’s the full 2016 calendar:
11. – 12.7. – Chamonix (FRA)
15. – 16.7. – Villars (SUI)
22. – 23.7. – Briançon (FRA)
19. – 20.8. – Imst (AUT)
26. – 27.8. – Arco (ITA)
22. – 23.10. – Xiamen (CHN)
26. – 27.11. – Kranj (SLO) – still says provisional on IFSC page

So the calendar to me is a little weird or very different from other years. There’s only one World Cup in Asia but honestly, I’m already worried about the live stream from China. Just because the troubles are so usual. Also there is a long break – from August until October (there is World Championship in Paris in the middle) and also season ends a little later than usual (competition in Kranj was usually in the middle of November).

First, let’s check female favorites. Obviously I’m gonna start with Slovenian climbers – Mina Markovič and Janja Garnbret. I don’t think Mina can win the overall because she wrote a post that she won’t do all competitions and if you don’t do all its almost impossible to win it all but WHEN she competes, she can easily win. Here’s her post about world cup events:

But she’s not the only ‘dangerous’ Slovenian, there’s also Janja! She did just 3 competitions in the past season but finished on the podium in all three (2x 2nd place & 1x 3rd place). It seems like she doesn’t feel the pressure and is climbing so relaxed, it’s so exciting to watch her climb.

Next up is Kim Jain. She and Mina were the only two climbers who won in the past season. Kim Jain is very consistent, her climbing is also poetry on the wall. She has a lot of experience which is also a good thing at the competitions.
There are also A LOT of young talented climbers. Two Austrians – Jessica Pilz was amazing last year and honestly, I still think Magdalena Röck just had a bad season in 2015, do you still remember her win in Imst in front of the home crowd? Well, I do, we can’t forget her. (But don’t forget whole Austrian team, every year super strong!) Also – Anak Verhoeven. She had 2 very good season but she still didn’t get her first win, she’s very composed on the wall and I know I already said that last year but I think it’s time for her first win.

French and Japanese team are again – as per usual – also has some great talent. Mathilde Becerra you might not pick her as your favorite but she won France National competition and you know, competition is hard! So don’t miss her. Another two French Climbers to watch out – Charlotte Durif and Hélène Janicot. I think French team is so consistent (men and women), they always have someone on a team who can win it all. Japanese team – Yuka Kobayashi and Risa Ota are both good but I’m not sure why Aya Onoe is not on the start list for Chamonix.

Last two I’d like to mention Dinara Fakhritdinova and Delaney Miller. Russian climber had a lot of bad stuff going on (she was stabbed) but she’s a former champion and I hope to see her back doing well! And I’m not really sure why but I’ve liked Delaney for some time and I think she’ll do all competitions this season I’m sure we’re gonna see her in the finals at least once.

In the category of men winner of the last year overall – Adam Ondra – won’t do competitions this season so we’re gonna get a new winner. Of course I’m hoping to see Domen Škofic win, he got his first win last season in Puurs and with that experience (and some other podium results) I think he can do really well. And since we’re at Slovenian team I think Urban Primožič could be a regular in the finals.

Two very strong teams are (once again) – Austrian and French team. French team will have a lot of climbers competing in front of the home crowd but Gautier Supper and Romain Desgranges will be 2 favorites to keep win at home. But will they make it? We’re gonna know on Tuesday! Austrian team has Jakob Schubert but I think from a team like theirs – anyone can surprise.

There are two smaller climbers – literally. Sean McColl and Ramon Julian Puigblanque. Sean will have a busy schedule – he’s also doing lead and he had some bad luck at bouldering finals (missing finals on 7th place) but if he’s in the semis 7th here – he can do even better in the finals. He’s probably one of my favorite climbers and I really wish him all the best! He’s also very diverse climbers and he can find a completely different solution for the route than anyone else. And then Ramon is climbing since forever – at least it seems like this. He’s been part of the climbing circuit for the longest time. And every time it’s interesting to see what he can do. This season will be no different.

Let’s not forget about Sebastian Halenke and Stefano Ghisolfi! I still remember how Stefano slipped one time in the finals at the beginning of the route, that’s such a bad luck, I hope nothing like this happens to him or to anyone else for that matter. Last one I’d like to mention Loïc Timmermans, he wasn’t in the finals last season but I have this feeling that he might his breakthrough this season but hey, I might be completely wrong, who knows 😀

Oh, and I almost forgot, this season we’re gonna miss Magnus! Why? Here’s his reason:

So don’t look for him on the startlist!

I hope we’re gonna all enjoy this lead season and fingers cross for interesting and intense ending. I wish all climbers all the best and also I wish nothing but the best to IFSC team with streams and all that stuff. I already know I’m gonna watch finals from Chamonix with a delay but hey, new season is here, let’s get excited!

Have a great summer!

First win of the season for Shauna and Alexey!

First bouldering world cup of the season is over! I was so excited for a whole two days that it was ridiculous, I was so happy that I get to watch the best climbers of the world and also write about competitions. My hands were sweating while watching, I was enjoying it so much. The only bad part about it was that I also had to work (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) so I couldn’t watch as much as I’d love and I get to write recap only now. So let’s focus on the competition in Meiringen now.

The first world cup of the competition was FUN! (To me, at least.) Boulders seemed nice, atractive and there weren’t too much dynos. There weren’t too many tops so I think the competition was exciting until the end.
Unfortunately I have to start with the worst part because this is (sadly) the part most people will remember this competiton by. And it was the live stream. Again. Every single time I complain about bad streaming from China and how nothing ever works there. Well, this time the problem was in Europe. Where I thought we have no problems with stuff like that but obviously – we do. The picture was horrible and at first stream wasn’t even avaliable on Youtube where we all automatically went. Then Leah Crane came to the rescue and she started streaming via her Facebook page and later tweeted extensively. So thank you Leah again for that, it was much easier to follow what was going on while stream was horrible. Later on video fall down and out of the blue they went to streaming on Youtube and people were so confused it was horrible. IFSC apologized on Twitter and posted new links but still. This shouldn’t be happening anymore, c’mon! Now to climbing, finally!

In a category of women we’ve seen some surprises even before the semis. Anna Stöhr didn’ make it to semi finals, she finished just below the line on 21st place, bummer! The last time Anna didn’t make it to finals was in 2007 (22nd June 2007) in Fiera di Primiero. That’s absolutely crazy, that’s 9 year ago. And in all that time she didn’t make it to the finals for 6 times. And this tells you how good and constant she is.
In semis Janja Garnbret completely crushed it. She climbed all the problems and she was the only one, other climbers had 2 tops at best. But unfortunately she wasn’t as good in finals and she ended up on 5th place. Still an awesome result for her first bouldering WC competition, congrats!
In the finals we were watching a battle between Shauna Coxsey and Melissa Le Neve. Third problems was the decider, Shauna climbed it and Melissa didn’t. But none of the girls manage to solve the last problem.
So Shauna started the season the way she finished her last one – with a win! Actually if you look to the results from Munich you’ll see the results are very similar. Megan Mascarenas was 3rd (just like in Munich) and Akiyo Noguchi 4th. The difference was in 2nd place where two French climbers exchanged. In Munich silver went to Fanny Gibert and now it went to Melissa.
To me it looked like Akiyo was struggling a lot. And on the kind of boulders she never had problems before. She used to make everything look so easy but this time she didn’t get a top in the finals, only got 3 bonuses. We’ll see how she’ll do in Japan and then we can talk if she just had a bad day or is she just in bad shape. Well not bad but not as good/great as in the past season.

image

Final results – WOMEN:

  1. Shauna Coxsey, Great Britain
  2. Melissa Le Neve, France
  3. Megan Mascarenas, USA
  4. Akiyo Noguchi, Japan
  5. Janja Garnbret, Slovenia
  6. Clementine Kaiser, France

In a category of men we’ve also had some surprises. I was very bummed for Sean McColl who finished on 20th place in semis, nowhere near the finalists. I’m really cheering for him because I love his energy every time he comes under that wall. It’s so fun to watch. He wrote a really good post about that competiton on his social media pages so go check it out, worth reading!
Also some strong men finished out of the final like Jan Hojer and Jongwon Chon – overall winners in the last two years – but also out of top 6 were all Japanese climbers and Sharafutdinov didn’t even make it to semi finals.

In finals we’ve seen some really cool moves and I was very impressed with Jorg Verhoeven on first problem. Only he and Alexey Rubtsov made it to the top. The third problem was obviously the easiest since all climbers did it and 4th reamin unsolved (although Tyler was really close!) – just like in women finals. Czech climber Martin Stranik was the only one who climed #2. Climbers on the podium were very close to each other, they all had 2 tops. Alexey and Martin had 2 tops and 6 tries but Jorg had only one more which earned him a bronze medal. Even though he was the only one who got bonus on all 4 problems but tries on tops weren’t working for him, that is a little tough luck for him. Then between Martin in Alexey it came down to number of bonuses and Alexey had 3 – one more than Martin and that got the Russian climber first win of the season.

From what we’ve seen in the finals it’s going to be very close season for me. Some really strong climbers made the smallest mistake and ended up out of top 6. So I’m really excited to see how will all go down and if some of the climber will manage to bounce back. Here are the final results.

Final results – MEN:

  1. Alexey Rubtsov, Russia
  2. Martin Stranik, Czech Republic
  3. Jorg Verhoeven, Netherlands
  4. Alban Levier, France
  5. Jakob Schubert, Austria
  6. Tyler Landman, Great Britain

image (1)

Next competiton is this weekend in Japan, you can still check the preview of this season and check what I got right and what not. Sadly, some of the climbers won’t make it to Kazo (for example Janja, Megan, Jakob….) but it’s still gonna be interesting, I am sure of that.

In the end I just wanna say what already wrote on Twitter. I know stream sucked, picture was crappy but it was still a lot of fun to watch because Twitter feed on #IFSCwc was finally alive again, people were talking, enjoying and I can’t remember the last time that happen. It was always alive when Daniel Finn was a commentator but now it was active again after quite a while. Hopefully it’s stays the same.
Congrats to Shauna and Alexey for the win, on to the next one!

Bouldering World Cup 2016 – Who’s going to be the best?

Guys, bouldering season is about to start, ARE YOU READY?! I am so excited, I was waiting for this since last August when season ended, haha! And this year we are even more lucky since there are gonna be more events than previous season. I am going to give you my preview of the season but let’s start with the calendar so you’ll know when to watch competitions (semis and finals are streamed live, no qualifiers)

Bouldering World Cup competition season 2016:
15. – 16. April – Meiringen (SUI)
23. – 24. April – Kazo (JPN)
30. April – 1. May – Chongqing (CHN)
14. – 15. May – Navi Mumbai (IND)
20. – 21. May – Innsbruck (AUT)
10. – 11. June – Vail (USA) /*IFSC page says ‘provisional’
12. – 13. August – Munich (GER)

And then in September there’s a World Championship in Paris. I must say I miss Toronto this season and maybe a competition (or two) more in Europe but hey, I won’t complain anymore. Let’s start the preview of the season, ladies first, of course. And just before we start, I must say that I don’t know who will do all the world cup events and of course if climbers will miss events there’s a smaller chance to win overall for them. But let’s presume all the best climbers do all the world cups.

LADIES
So I’m going to be honest with you. Last season women world cup wasn’t as interesting as I thought it’s gonna be. Juliane Wurm retired in the middle of the season, Alex Puccio and Anna Stöhr got injured, Shauna Coxsey had problems with finger injury and everything was decided before the last competition even started. But who’s gonna be the best in 2016?

I have to start with Akiyo Noguchi, the overall winner for the past two seasons. She was on the overall podium every year since 2008 and she won 4 times! She’s very consistent, she’s excellent every year and I don’t see a reason why she wouldn’t do well again.

Akiyo is always looking to be the best.
Akiyo is always looking to be the best.
Can she repeat success of the past 2 years?
Can she repeat success of the past 2 years?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But honestly, I think this season is finally going to be about Shauna Coxsey. Every year she had some injury problems and some tough luck in 2014 when the last boulder decided everything. She ended last season in Munich with a perfect score in the finals – 4/4. I really think her time has come. And even though Akiyo won for the past two season and I started with her, my number one pick for this season is Shauna. She also won CWIF event, the only female who climbed all finals problems. It’s her time, it’s not gonna be easy, that’s for sure because I think competition this season will be insane.

I think it's going to be her year.
I think it’s going to be her year.

Shauna1

 

Insane also because Anna Stöhr is back, so happy for her! Anna is very experienced and after missing the second half of the season I think she’ll come back hungry for new wins! Like Akiyo she also is already overall bouldering world cup winner, she knows how to win this thing and we must keep an eye on her. I am not sure if Alex Puccio will come back this season, she’s not on the list for Meiringen, so I can’t say anything. I’ve heard she’ll be in Vail and if she joins the world cup circuit, she can win the competition, she’s still a reigning world bouldering vice-champion.

Since I already talked about Shauna, I think Great Britain’s team is going to be really strong this season! Not just because of Shauna but also because of Leah Crane and Michaela Tracy. They were both in the finals of CWIF event and Michaela was also already in the finals of world championship in Munich in 2014. Leah was training with Shauna before season (they’ve posted a lot of pictures, videos on their social media) and of course training with the best also helps you to get better. So yeah, it’s not just Shauna, overall as I’ve said, I think Great Britain has a strong team this season.

Let’s take a look a little bit at the ‘young guns’. I am going to be ‘homer’ for a while because I need to start with Janja Garnbret, Slovenian climber who already kicked some ass last season in lead climbing but is now also on the start list for the first competition in Switzerland! I was so excited to see her name on Slovenian team because I am 100% sure she can do extremely well and I mean it. She can go and win the whole event or ‘just’ make it to the podium. She won LaSportiva Legends Only event in 2015, where she beat Anna Stöhr, Shauna Coxsey, Juliane Wurm and some other big names. So watch out for her! As far as I know she’ll do just this event (maybe Munich and Innsbruck, I am not sure) but I’m so excited to see her on the big stage and I wish her all the best in her first world cup bouldering competition.
But of course she’s not the only young climber we need to keep an eye on. There’s also Serbian Staša Gejo. She already competed last year, she was Junior World Champion but she also made it into the finals in Munich. She and Janja have the same coach (Gorazd Hren) and I think Staša could be regular in the finals.
There are also 2 extremely good 18-years old climbers – Megan Mascarenas from USA and Miho Nonaka from Japan.

Young and talented Miho Nonaka
Young and talented Miho Nonaka

Megan did just two events in 2015 – she won in Vail and was 3rd in Munich. Miho (I think) did all events and she never did worse than 7th place but she was also on the podium, she’s still looking for her first world cup win, though. Might come this year, you never know! Both are very talented and Megan is on the star list for Meiringer, so I am hoping she’ll do more events this season, would make me very happy since she impressed me the first time I saw her on live stream!
Since I am Slovenian I can’t get past two climber – Julija Kruder and Katja Kadič. Both were already in the finals (Katja in Munich 2015 for the first time). I know Katja and she had plenty of injury problems and also she’s not on the start list but Julija is! She didn’t have the best 2015 and I’m sure we’ll see her in at least one final this year, I hope so! Also another Slovenian climber is on the start list – Tjaša Slemenšek but I haven’t seen her climb yet but I wish her all the best, of course – as I do to ALL the athletes!

I didn’t forget about French team – always strong. Two of the climbers already proved that they want to be on top this season. Melissa Le Neve was 2nd (just behind Shauna) at CWIF event and Fanny Gibert won Blockmasters event in the end of March, where even Juliane Wurm competed (Jule is still doing some comps but not world cups). French climbers are regular in the finals and I expect nothing less this season.
German team will sure miss Juliane Wurm but Monika Retschy might be her successor, she also competed at Blockmasters, she finished 3rd, 2nd was her teammate Lilli Kiesgen. I know nothing about Lilli but she’ll be on the first comp and we might get to know her in the semis!

Can Monika do as well or even better than Juliane?
Can Monika do as well or even better than Juliane?

In the end of ladies preview I must quickly mention some other female climbers – Margo Hayes, young American climber who was in the finals in Vail and is also on the start list for the first event, Sol Sa, Korean climber, she can do really well and last but not least, 24 years old Swiss climber Petra Klinger who got her first win in Haiyang last year, can she get another one this season and how well can she do in front of home crowd? We’ll find everything out soon enough!

GENTLEMEN
Unlike women season 2015 men had a little more intense end of the past season. Everything went down in Munich and let’s hope this season is going to be as interesting! And if I started with Akiyo before, of course I must start my men preview with Jongwon Chon, the overall bouldering world cup winner in 2015. I haven’t really followed him much after the season ended but I always remember his battle in the finals of Adidas Rockstars competition against Sean and I remember, he’s dangerous, he can always surprise you and some crazy things on the wall. And of course this season he’ll try to defend the overall title but you know what they say – it’s always easier to chase than to defend, hard job ahead of Jongwon.

Who can take it away? Well, there are some candidates, right? One of them is Jan Hojer for sure, he ended season 2015 around 30 points behind Jongwon and he already was overall winner in 2014. And of course Jan is a beast! Super strong climber who solves some problems completely different than any other climber just because of his strength.
Next one on the list is Sean McColl – if he’ll do all world cups. Sean1He’s a great overall climber and he competes in all three disciplines. And that’s the reason he sometimes skips a competition, so he can prepare for the other discplines. But I love his energy on the wall, his determination so I really hope he does as much events as possible! He also won CWIF event in the middle of March.

Sean McColl is great overall climber
Sean McColl is great overall climber

Jakob Schubert is also a favorite – he’s done only three competitions in the past year but I think he was more focused on lead season? Not sure but every time he competes I think he’s the candidate for the finals, maybe even podium, we’ll see how he’s going to start the season. In the past he had finger injury so he skipped some competitions.

Jernej Kruder! Of course he’s one of my favorites but he didn’t have the best past season, after being world vice-champion in 2014 he wasn’t in the finals in 2015 but I’m really hoping he’ll do great this year again. Before start of the season he competed at Blockmasters and finished 2nd, I am sure this is a confidence boost, I mean it sure helps. I think he also had some injury problems at that comp so if he’s fine, he can be even better. Speaking of Slovenian male climbers there are two more on the start list (can’t ignore them) Gregor Vezonik and Martin Bergant, both still young and if you check Instagram profile @sloveniaclimbingteam you can see they were doing some crazy things while training. I am telling you, it’s worth checking out!

Czech team will be without Adam Ondra this season but do you remember Martin Stranik? Yes? No? Well, either way, he already proved he is very strong and has the potential to be regular in the finals, he was there 2 times last season and finished 2nd in Munich.

As in female category France has a strong team in a category of men, no doubt. Alban Levier won for the first time in the past season and he finished 5th overall. He’s still young (21 years), he had ups and downs but with more consistency he can be very high. Jeremy Bonder didn’t have the best season in 2015, he was in the finals only once but he finished 4th in Blockmasters event in March.

I have to mention at least two more teams – Russian and Japanese climbers. We all know Russians are hard to beat, Rustam Gelmanov is always interesting to watch and he always has some new haircut to watch too, haha! He was at Blockmasters and at CWIF and made it to finals in both events. Finished 6th in Germany and 2nd in Great Britain. Rustam was also the best Russian climber in the previos season, finishing in 6th place of overall. His teammate, Alexey Rubtsov was also in Germany and he won the event but there’s also Dmitrii Sharafutdinov, always a threat. So extremely strong Russian team.

How well will Rustam do?
How well will Rustam do?

Japanese have three climbers I’d like to point out – Kokoro Fujii, Rei Sugimoto and Tsukuru Hori. First two ended up in top 10 overall in the past season but it seems to me Japan almost always have one climber in the finals. If it’s not one it’s the other and if it’s none of them it’s the third one, you never know who’s going to shine and who will be the best and if at least one of them is going to be consistent then he can be very high in overall ranking.

Who from Japan is going to shine this season?
Who from Japan is going to shine this season?

In the end I feel like I must mention veteran Jorg Verhoeven, he’s 30 years old and still competing, he has so much experience and he is really strong. He was in the finals at CWIF event, finished 6th but he was in the lead after the semis. So he’s still got it and I can’t just look past him.

So that’s it for the preview, I hope you liked it and maybe learn something new. I am ready for season 2016! I just hope my work won’t overlap too much with semis and finals because if I’m at work it’s harder to watch. I have really old pictures, they are all from Munich 2014 (sorry for the bad quality, I took them from facebook since I can’t find the original pictures).  And maaan, I need to see a competition live so I can use more relevant pictures!
For now I suggest you follow @OnBouldering and @TheCircuitClimb/The Circuit World Cup for videos and pictures from IFSC World Cup events!
New season is almost here hope you’re going to enjoy it!

p.s.: In the end I must wish best of luck to Sierra Blair-Coyle who was super nice and took a lot of time for the interview. Hope I see her on many live streams! I have a special place for climbers who are willing to answer to my question but I cheer for all of them and I just enjoy in the competitions! 🙂

My Dream Job(s)

Hello people!

I hope you’re having a good time and I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Sierra Blair-Coyle but today I decided to write something a little bit different but still connected to sports, of course. I am going to write about my dream job (or maybe two) which includes two of my favorite sports. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great job right now (also sports connected) and I’m really enjoying it but in my head these two jobs are my dream jobs, at the moment. Things change and my thoughts about this might too but for now, let’s get to the business.

Climbing
If you have been reading my blog you probably noticed climbing is a huge passion of mine. I used to train, then (because of different reasons) I got sick of it and couldn’t stand it for a while but now I love it again. Sadly, I don’t climb as much but I follow World Cup competitions closely and some other comps too if I have time. I love to write about climbing, I love talking to climbers from different countries, I love everything about it. When I was in Munich for 2014 Boulder World Championship I had tons of work to do, I got lost the first day but when everything started I loved it. Every second. So of course my first dream job is climbing related.

Throwback to Munich 2014
Throwback to Munich 2014

Let me describe what I’d love to do. I would go on all world cup events – bouldering, lead and speed. I would actually BE there because it’s completely different if you are on the spot or if you are just watching live stream. Sometimes you can’t follow both finals (men and women) as closely as via stream but you get so much information on the spot. You can get statements from climbers after the end. And then I would write reports about competitions – not just when it’s over and done but first after qualifiers, then after semis and at last after finals and with as many statements as possible. I would make interviews once in a while with different climbers. That’s one thing I could do – I am not sure for who I’d be writing, might be for IFSC page, I am writing for a Slovenian website … But traveling around costs a lot of money and climbing is not a popular sport so getting that money is super hard. I also thought I could take statements from climbers for the live stream after the finals. I don’t know, I’d just love to be involved in competitions, I would even learn much more about speed climbers and everything about speed (honestly, my least favorite discipline). I’ve been thinking about everything I could do but it all starts end ends with money. Maybe one day, some day. Working on it, climbing was one of the reasons I started this blog, so I could practice my English and write about the sport I love and share it with more people, not just those who speak Slovenian.
So of course, in the next few days you can expect a preview about bouldering world cup season, it’s almost here!! 🙂

Basketball Spurs
I’ve been thinking about this job just recently, I didn’t even know much about it. I still don’t since it only exist in San Antonio and probably I can’t even see all duties that are related to this job. Person who has this job is Rachel Santschi. First I must say that I think she’s doing a great job and she seems super sweet and nice! But it also seems to me that she has the best job ever. She is covering San Antonio Spurs team – everything about them. She makes reports and previews about games, their opponents, she covers everything that’s happening on players’ social media platforms, she’s a sideline reporter, she connects with fans and she has awesome gifts for the fans … That’s what I know she’s doing, she’s probably doing much more but I can’t see it (or it’s harder to see) since I’m living in Slovenia. But as far as I’ve gathered – she works for the Spurs, it seems like she’s loving it and it shows. And that job goal is probably the least realistic goal I’ve had in my life. I am not even sure how much I’d love it (you only see good stuff from afar not the hard parts about the job) but I think this could be my second dream job. And even if it’s unrealistic, I am still hoping that one day when I finally make it to San Antonio, I can meet Rachel Santschi and I can learn more about her job. Just because I’d love to know more and learn something new – that’s always awesome. And also in this job you are allowed to cheer for the Spurs – the best, right? Once again, I am a fan of yours, Rachel!

So at the moment this is my idea of a dream job but things changes so you never know, in one year I might have a completely different idea. That’s it for now, expect a climbing post very soon, ONE WEEK until new season, YEAH! 🙂