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Olympics

Meet Shauna Coxsey, Qualified Olympian and Boulder Powerhouse

The British boulderer, with two overall Boulder World Cup wins under her belt, is the only British climber heading to Tokyo.

Representing her nation is nothing new for Shauna Coxsey. The 28-year-old from Sheffield, England has long stood supreme as the United Kingdom’s powerhouse on the IFSC circuit, with back-to-back overall IFSC Bouldering World Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. 

After the 2016 title, Coxsey became the first Brit to win the IFSC Boulder World Cup (she’d placed second the year prior, the first UK climber to do that as well), and was awarded “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” (MBE), as a result. She has always been a strong climber outdoors as well and became the third woman to boulder 8B+ (V14) with a 2014 tick of New Baseline in the Swiss bouldering paradise Magic Wood.

Having racked up nearly a dozen gold medals in Bouldering World Cups since her freshman season in 2012, she netted her Olympic ticket after making it to finals in the Combined 2019 World Championships in Hachioji, Japan, where she placed third. She also ranked third in Bouldering in Hachioji and set a British women’s Speed record at 9.141s. 

She was elected Vice President of the IFSC Athletes’ Commission in 2019, after Hachioji, serving alongside Sean McColl (President). Coxsey is also Director of the Women’s Climbing Symposium, along with Emma Banks and Rebecca Ting, and a trustee of Climbers Against Cancer.

Unfortunately, a recent back problem that arose after she received an epidural for a knee surgery has resulted in chronic pain that has plagued Coxsey for almost a year and has necessitated numerous surgeries and hospital visits. 

At the most recent Boulder World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah (her first comp since the pain began), she placed 36th, surprising many fans. “This isn’t how I wanted this comp to go,” Coxsey wrote on Instagram. “I knew there were some unknowns but I hadn’t realised I wasn’t ready. The reality of dealing with my back, learning how to climb around it and being in pain when competing was too much for me today. I am really sad I couldn’t show my best out here but it did felt like a step towards being myself back out on the mats.” With less than 45 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Coxsey is racing against the clock to return to form despite her pain.

Last week, Coxsey married longtime boyfriend and strong Sheffield climber Ned Feehally, the co-founder of Beastmaker. “We are so filled with joy and happiness after a perfect little ceremony this weekend,” she wrote on Instagram. “After covid cancelled our wedding a few times it all feels kinda surreal.” The couple is planning a second, larger wedding celebration later in 2021 with friends and family.