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All have now arrived in Hachioji, Japan, the host city of the US Climbing Team, on July 22. The athletes, Nathaniel Coleman, Kyra Condie, Colin Duffy, and Brooke Raboutou, have since settled into training; they will spend eight days preparing and acclimating before moving into the Olympic village. Climbing will kick off on August 3.
The team has exclusive access to local Hachioji climbing gyms as well as a custom Grasshopper training board on the rooftop of their hotel, surrounded by a vast backdrop of mountains and trees. Condie said the environment has enabled her to acclimate in a relaxed environment:
“Our spot in Hachioji is really nice, which is lucky because we are confined to two floors and the roof of the hotel. Luckily it’s really homey in the rooms and we’ve been treated amazingly by our hosts, which makes it not feel like a quarantine.”
A major priority for the team has been Covid safety. “Our hosts have taken every precaution to keep us separated from everyone outside of our group,” said Coleman. The controlled environment is allowing the team to isolate and focus in the weeks leading up to the big day. “Being in Japan feels different this time than it has in the past,” said Coleman. “And not only because of COVID restrictions. Training, eating, brushing my teeth, everything feels slowed down and intentional.”
The road to Tokyo has been a long one for the US climbing lineup. Brooke Raboutou, the first to qualify for the US Olympic climbing team, earned her spot two years ago during the Combined World Championships, in Hachioji. Two other qualification events followed: the Toulouse Olympic Qualifier and Continental Championships. The pandemic stretched those events out over the course of the ensuing year.
Raboutou, who has podiumed in two recent IFSC World Cups, feels that she is in her final stage of preparation. “Most of the training is done. Now I am just maintaining my climbing and fueling my recovery so I can feel my best at the Games,” she said. Condie is focused on attaining some final endurance improvement, while Coleman is focused on how his body is reacting to the hot and humid Tokyo climate while fine tuning all three climbing disciplines. For Duffy, it is more of a mental game: “I am looking to have fun training sessions that put me in a good frame of mind before the competition.”
Leading up to their Tokyo arrival, the U.S. team had been split between two different locations. Coleman and Condie were in Salt Lake City, Utah, while Duffy and Raboutou lived and trained in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado. 17-year old Duffy has enjoyed the team being together in Japan. “Being together as a team has been awesome. We have all bonded over the last few days and the group training sessions have been motivating.”
Climbing will take place from August 3 – 6 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo. The IFSC setting team is already there adjusting the boulders and lead routes. The US climbing team is looking forward to being among the 40 individuals who will get to introduce competitive climbing to the world, in a long-anticipated event. For Raboutou, the wait has been worth it:
“I am very excited to be here in Tokyo and a part of the Games! We have waited so long. Now it feels amazing that the time has finally come!”