The Americas Pursue Olympic Dreams
The start of Sport Climbing’s Olympic year begins on 25th February at Sender One in sunny Los Angeles, California. Forty-eight athletes from nine countries are competing in the Pan-American Championships for the Continental Olympic quota available.
The competition will take place over a series of six days, with the last two days featuring the highly anticipated Combined finals. Only the athletes who finish in first place, provided their country still has quotas available, can claim the coveted prize of Olympic participation.
One Spot for Team USA
For the United States, only one men’s spot remains after Nathaniel COLEMAN secured his qualification position with an eighth-place finish at the IFSC Combined Qualifiers Toulouse 2019 in November. With a second consecutive win of the USA Climbing Combined Invitational, Zach GALLA looks to be the favorite for Team USA, alongside regular IFSC Lead World Cup 2019 finalist, Sean BAILEY.
Third Time is a Charm
Sean MCCOLL is currently the only Canadian currently qualified for Tokyo 2020, but five of his compatriots have their chance to fight for their Olympic dreams. For Alannah YIP, the Pan-American Championships will be her third and final attempt at Olympic dreams after missing out on qualification in both Hachioji and Toulouse.
A Chance for Latin America
Of the fourteen competitors already qualified for Sport Climbing’s historic Olympic debut in Japan, none of the athletes so far represent the Latin American countries. Will this event finally yield a candidate?
Ecuador is expected to send several of their top climbers, two of whom, Danny VALENCIA and Andrea ROJAS, found podium places in Combined at the last Pan-American Championships in 2018. Other strong contenders are Argentina’s Valentina AGUADO, who placed second in at the 2018 championships and Caesar GROSSO from Brazil.
The Pan-American Championship finals will be broadcast live on 29th February and 1st March on the IFSC homepage. The complete schedule, athlete list, and results can be found on the official event page on the IFSC website and official photos for the event can be found on the IFSC Flickr.
Don’t forget to join the conversation with your fellow sport climbing fans and cheer on your favorite athlete on Twitter with the hashtag #IFSCcontinental.
More information about Sport Climbing’s appearance at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be found here.