Missing athletes, figure fours, separation by zones, and a quintuplet win: the fifth 2019 Bouldering World Cup was one for the books.
This past weekend, May 18-19, over 270 athletes competed underneath the sheer canopies of the beautiful Olympic Stadium in Munich. With just two chances remaining to establish a favorable season ranking, competitors were under extra pressure, yet at the same time some unusual opportunities opened up.
In the previous Bouldering World Cup in Wujiang, seven Japanese climbers dominated the finals round, winning four of the possible six medals. In Munich, however, the top nine Japanese athletes chose to take a back seat in preparation for the final World Cup in Vail. Shauna Coxsey (GBR), who has medaled twice in 2019, was also missing. These missing competitors effectively freed spots for other athletes to advance into the semifinal and final rounds.
From the U.S., nine athletes attended, including Zach Galla, Sean Bailey, Josh Levin and Dylan Barks in the men’s bracket. In the women’s bracket were Alex Johnson, Kyra Condie, Ashima Shiraishi, Sienna Kopf and Brooke Raboutou. Johnson was the only American to advance into the semifinals round, while Condie was just one spot out. In the semifinal round, Johnson was out of finals by just four attempts to zones.
Prior to the Munich competition, Janja Garnbret (SLO) was four for four in her 2019 gold medal crusade. Garnbret proved she was ready for a fifth in Munich, as the only competitor to top all four boulders in the semifinal round. The next closest competitor, Levgeniia Kazbekova (UKR), only topped one boulder and the other athletes only achieved zones.
Slovenia saw two additional athletes, Katja Kadic and Mia Krampl, progress to finals. Krampl unfortunately injured her knee in the semifinal round and afterwards could be seen limping through the stadium. Julia Chanourdie and Fanny Gibert, both from France, claimed the last spots for the final round.
Gibert has never won a World Cup, but she’s finaled twice in the 2019 season. She proved she belonged by being the only competitor besides Garnbret to top all four boulders. Still, Garnbret won by three fewer attempts. All eyes will be on Garnbret in the Vail World Cup to see if she will be the first competitor ever to sweep a season.
Krampl chiefly climbed with one leg during the final round to protect her injured knee. Through winces and crafty maneuvers, she was still able to top three boulders and secure a bronze medal. On the fourth boulder, she became the crowd favorite when she broke the beta by figure-fouring her way through an otherwise knee-intensive move.
Adam Ondra, from the Czech Republic, had taken gold in the first 2019 World Cup in Meiringen and second in Moscow. He was sick for the two subsequent World Cups in China, but went on to Munich ready to fight, and was the only competitor to top all four boulders in the semifinal round. Jongwon Chon (KOR), Jan Hojer (GER), Jakob Schubert (AUT) and Anze Peharc (SLO) also advanced to finals, respectively, with three tops. Aleksey Rubtsov (RUS) snagged the sixth spot into finals with two.
In the finals round, Ondra continued his domination by flashing the first three boulders. On the fourth boulder, a challenging triple-clutch on slopey volumes, however, Ondra failed to secure even the bonus hold, while Schubert sent on his third attempt. Both Ondra and Shubert finished the round with three tops, but while Ondra had few attempts to tops, Schubert won by a zone. The bouldering win was Schubert’s first since 2013.
Hojer, who had been trailing behind the other competitors, was the only climber to flash the fourth boulder, earning him bronze in front of his hometown crowd.
Results can be found below or on IFSC.
The Vail World Cup takes place in less than three weeks, June 7-8, during the GoPro Mountain Games. Twenty Americans are registered to compete in the mountain town, located just two hours west of Denver. Aside from the World Cup, there will be other outdoor competitions, music, art contests and even dog-jumping events. Spectating is free, so book your tickets. See mountaingames.com.
IFSC Climbing World Cup Munich 2019 – Bouldering Semi Finals
IFSC Climbing World Cup Munich 2019 – Bouldering Finals