World Championships 2003

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Americans strong in lead climbing, weak in boulderingClimbers and spectators gathered in Chamonix from July 9-13th for the lead climbing and bouldering World Cup. America's top male talent Chris Sharma, however, was conspicuously absent -- very unfortunate for a nation that focuses so much attention on competition bouldering. Emily Harrington and Lisa Rands were the lone torchbearers for the U.S. and neither made the final. Italian Christian Core, who barely squeaked into the final, came out on top for the men. The eternally focused Frenchwoman Sandrine Levet kept her cool to take the women's title.Belgian mini-monster Muriel Sarkany snagged the women's title in the lead climbing event - helping round out her illustrious career and denying Levet the double win. On the men's side, the partisan crowd was certain that Alex Chabot would win, but when he lunged too aggressively for a small hold, he found himself being lowered to the ground instead. Tomacz Mrazek of the Czech Republic took the win.In contrast to the meager American bouldering presence, a full US team took to the lead wall. Despite suffering from debilitating compartment syndrome in his left arm, U.S. champ Vadim Vinokur led the American men, qualifying for the semi-final and ultimately placing 20th. Cody Roth snagged 22nd, while Nathan Bancroft tied for 61st. Emily Harrington, in her first year of World Cup competition, surprised many by making it into the final and placing ninth -- only a route-reading error kept her from the podium. American champ Lizzie Asher just missed the semi-final cut, tying for 38th.