NATALIA GROSSMAN COMPLETES TEAM USA’S PAN AMERICAN GAMES SWEEP
Team USA won four golds, four silver, and one bronze in Sport Climbing at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023. Most importantly, the US team pocketed four Olympic quota places out of four – the last one being won by Natalia Grossman in the women’s Boulder & Lead event.
The 23-year-old from Colorado built her victory on the foundation of a strong Boulder round, where she was the only climber able to top three boulders out of four, and coming very close to solving the fourth one too.
Grossman then carried her 84.3 points on to the decisive Lead phase, where she needed to reach the higher section of the wall to secure both the gold medal and the ticket to Paris 2024 – which she eventually did. Grossman won 88.1 more points and burst into tears as soon as she realised the outcome of her fantastic performance.
Grossman said: “I feel just so grateful and proud of all the work I have put in. I changed a lot in this past couple of months, in my climbing and in my life, and to see it pay off feels really good.
“I tend to run really warm when I’m climbing, for some reason, which is funny. So I always have fans on, and even though it was pretty cold tonight, I still had three fans to keep my hands cold. Although I’ve put some pants on for the Lead route, because it got a little chilly!”
She concluded, talking about the moments right after her Lead climb, when she mathematically secured first place: “My friend Oscar was holding his finger up, like, ‘First!’, and I almost didn’t believe it. I wanted to wait until I saw it, just because people tent to say things before they happen… it was a very surreal moment!”
Seven points behind Grossman, in silver medal position, USA’s Brooke Raboutou climbed last on the Lead wall, probably knowing she could not take first place anymore. Still, she put together the best performance of the Lead phase, taking 96.0 points and adding them to the 69.4 she previously won on the Boulder wall, for a total of 165.4.
Canada’s Alannah Yip also placed on the podium, crowning a good Pan Am Games campaign with a bronze medal. The experienced climber from Vancouver started her final round with a two-top performance on the Boulder wall, where she won 64.7 points, and followed up with a solid result on the Lead one, taking 64.0 more points and closing with 128.7.
USA’s third Boulder & Lead finalist – Anastasia Sanders – placed just outside of the medal positions, scoring 115.1 points and concluding fourth.
Representing South America in the round, Alejandra Contreras of Chile and Valentina Aguado of Argentina followed Sanders, respectively in fifth and sixth position. The Chilean climber, pushed by the many local fans that gathered at Parque Bicentenario de Cerrillos in Santiago, paired a 57-point performance in Lead with the 34.5 points she gained in Boulder, totalising 91.5.
Aguado put together two similar performances – 34.8 and 54 – placing less than three points behind Contreras, at 88.8.
Two more Canadian climbers placed at the bottom of the final ranking: Rebecca Frangos concluded in seventh place with 86.4 points, and Indiana Chapman finished eighth with 85.8.
For the women’s Boulder & Lead complete results click here.
The road to Paris 2024 will continue in Laval, France, where the IFSC European Qualifier will kick off in two days, on 26 October. Athletes from 19 European countries will compete in the men’s and women’s Boulder & Lead events, and the Olympic quota places will be awarded to the two gold medallists.
Semi-finals and finals will be live streamed on the IFSC YouTube channel. Geo blocking restrictions might be applied.
Updates and news about the event will be available on the IFSC website, and on the Federation digital channels: Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and exclusively for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo.
Natalia Grossman won Team USA's fourth Olympic quota at Santiago 2023
Photo: Lena Drapella/IFSC