Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Olympics

Women’s Olympic Sport Climbing Speeds Into History—The Battle Begins

Personal bests and slips shake up the leader board as Olympic women race to position going into Boulder.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

This article is free and is part of our comprehensive Olympic coverage. Sign up with a Climbing brand membership, now just $2 a month and you get unlimited access to all of our Olympic news, analysis and photo galleries, plus you’ll enjoy a print subscription to Climbing and receive our annual coffee-table edition of Ascent. Please join the Climbing team today and don’t miss a single move.

The Speed portion of the women’s combined qualifier is now a wrap. The athletes came out in pairs, racing the clock, not each other. The rumors of it being hot in Tokyo proved not to be rumors. Akiyo Noguchi, of Japan, looked like she had just exited a sauna when she came out for her first run. Her skin glistened under the cameras.

Brooke Raboutou (USA) and Alannah YIP (Canada) lower after the women’s Olympic Speed Qualifier in Tokyo. Photo: Jess Talley/Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

The round began at 5 pm Tokyo time and lasted about 45 minutes in total. Bouldering, which immediately follows Speed, is currently underway. Lead is the final discipline.

Aleksandra Miroslaw, a speed specialist of Poland, finished in the top spot following by Anouck Jaubert, of France, and Yiling Song, of China. All three are speed specialists. The highest ranked non-speed specialist came in fourth, courtesy of Miho Nonaka. 

Watch Video: Boulderer falls onto his partners, takes everyone for a ride

Brooke Raboutou was the first American to launch off, racing on the right lane against Alannah Yip, of Canada. Yip broke her personal best and Brooke nabbed a 8.81. On Brooke’s second burn, she clipped in then closed her eyes and took a breath. She wanted better and she got better. Raboutou got a clean 8.67, though with a small slip. Yip got a 7.99 on her second, breaking the sub-8 barrier. Prior to Tokyo, 9.16 was Yip’s best before. So yea, Yip is in her element.

Kyra Condie, of Team USA, did excellent, finishing in 7th. Condie clocked an 8.12 on her first run and then, for her second, an 8.08. 

Janja Garnbret, of Slovenia, slipped on both runs. Garnbret is a top pick for making the podium. She finished 14th overall after Speed, but the many-times-over World Champion Garnbret is just getting warmed up. Bouldering and Lead are her specialty.

Overall, the speed specialists dominated the top of the speed leaderboard, as one might expect, but, as it is with the men, all the years of speed practice has helped level the playing field. It was good to see all the personal bests from the athletes. The Olympic stage clearly has some weight.

Bouldering is next, and Lead after that. Since it’s the combined score that matters, a low position coming out of Speed doesn’t mean you’re out of contention for making finals, it just means you have more work to do.

Kyra Condie (USA) prepares for her debut in Speed at the Sport Climbing Women’s Qualifications at the 2020 Olympics Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

WOMEN’S OLYMPIC SPEED QUALIFIER RESULTS

  1. Aleksandra Miroslaw (Poland) 6.97
  2. Anouck Jaubert (France) 7.12
  3. Song Yiling (China) 7.46
  4. Miho Nonaka(Japan) 7.55
  5. Iuliia Kaplina (Russia) 7.65
  6. Alannah Yip (Canada) 7.99
  7. Kyra Condie (USA) 8.08
  8. Julia Chanourdie (France) 8.17
  9. Akiyo Noguchi (Japan) 8.23
  10. Petra Klinger (Switzerland) 6.42
  11. Jessica Pilz (Austria) 8.51
  12. Brooke Raboutou (USA) 8.67
  13. Oceania Mackenzie (Australia) 8.83
  14. Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) 9.44
  15. Viktoriia Meshkova 9.54
  16. Shauna Coxsey (Great Britain) 9.65
  17. Seo Chaehyun (South Korea) 10.01
  18. Mia Krampl (Slovenia) 10.43
  19. Laura Rogora (Italy) 10.5
  20. Erin Strekenburg (Republic of South Africa) 11.1
Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) the favorite for Gold finished Speed in 14th, a disappointing result for the world’s best. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

Seo Chaehyun (South Korea), one of the youngest competitor in women’s sport climbing, finished speed in 17th. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

Janja Garnbret (Slovenia) and Julia Chanourdie (France) approach the Speed wall. Garnbret finished 14th, Chanourdie had a great performance, landing in 8th place. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

Yip and Raboutou blaze up the Speed wall. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

Akiyo Noguchi (Japan), one of the top seeds, finished Speed in 9th. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11

Aleksandra Miroslaw (Poland) rejoices after finishing first in Women’s Speed at climbing’s debut in the Olympics. Kyra Condie (USA) on the right. Photo: Jess Talley, Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11