Emma Hunt, Colin Duffy, Piper Kelly, and now Samuel Watson: the US Climbing national team has secured its fourth Olympic quota place for Paris 2024, as the 18-year-old from Southlake, Texas, won gold in the men’s Speed event at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023.

Watson, who started the event by setting the fastest qualification time, beat his friend and teammate Noah Bratschi in the race for gold and for Paris. Both climbers stumbled on their way to the finish pad, and Watson eventually stopped the clock first, at 5.37, while Bratschi finished with 5.96 and the silver medal around his neck.

“I feel great,” said Watson following the podium. “I feel like this is the culmination of my entire process, that I’ve been working on for the past I-don’t-know-how-may years… since Speed Climbing as a single medal in November 2020, so it’s been a huge deal for the past three years.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of all my teammates, especially Noah. I know he’s worked very very hard and overcome a lot of obstacles, and I would rather not race anyone else in the final. Him, and John, Emma, Sophie, and Piper who also got a ticket as well, they’re the best people.”

Ecuador’s Carlos Granja completed the podium in third place, adding it another bronze medal to the one won by his teammate Andrea Rojas in the women’s Speed event. Granja bested Canada’s Ethan Flynn-Pitcher in a neck-and-neck final that saw the experienced athlete from Ibarra close with 5.52 against his rival’s 5.59.

For the men’s Speed event complete results

CLBMSPEED-------------------------.C74S 4 0

Prior to the men’s Speed event, the women’s Boulder & Lead semi-final took place, and Brooke Raboutou finished in first place with 176.0 points, followed by her teammate Natalia Grossman – second with 175.9 – and Canada’s Alannah Yip – third with 147.8.

For the women’s Boulder & Lead event complete results

CLBMSPEED-------------------------.C74S 4 0

Sport Climbing competitions at the Pan American Games will continue tomorrow with the men’s Boulder & Lead final, commencing at 18:05 (UTC-3:00). The full schedule is available on the event page of Santiago 2023. All competitions at the Pan American Games will be streaming on the Panam Sports channels

Updates and news about the Climbing competitions will be available on the official website of the event, on the IFSC website , and on the Federation digital channels: Facebook , Instagram , X , LinkedIn , and exclusively for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo


The podium of the men's Speed event at Santiago 2023Photo: Lena Drapella/IFSC

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