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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Innsbruck World Cup

My second world cup of the season has put me on stride. Although I finished in 8th place, so much went better than in Switzerland. I felt more comfortable, climbed pretty well and didn’t make too many mistakes.

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Qualifiers were Friday morning and I was 3rd out, pretty normal. On the first try of the competition my foot slipped off the starting hold, not a great start. After that I went through the 5 boulder problems and felt confident. I ended the round with 5 tops in 8 tries, putting me in second place in my group.

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My group had easier problems in the other group and I needed to do 4 boulders to get through. In the other group 2 boulders was enough to make semi-finals. In the end, it doesn’t matter the difficulty of the boulders, only how many you need to do to make top 10 men in your group.

I came back in the afternoon to watch the girls and cheer on the other Canadians that were competing.

Semi-finals were Saturday morning and I was in isolation pretty early. I had a nice wait so I drank some coffee and just relaxed for the first couple of hours. I warmed up in normal fashion and felt good.

I didn’t like the first boulder of semifinals. It was basically a running start and press into a roof. I (as representative for the athletes) explicitly got rid of run and jump starts because they just caused problems. This brought back all those memories and just made me mad.

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After doing the dumb starting move, it took me 4 tries to stick the first hold. The reason I am so against these types of problems is because if you’re tall, you can just set yourself on the starting position, press into the start and reach out to the next hold. If you’re small, you have to run into the start so you don’t really get to pick where your limbs are. From there, you have to jump around the corner, which I find is unfair. That was problem 1, so my rant ends here.

I flashed problem two which was a very good compression boulder with plenty of volumes around a corner.

I also flashed problem three which was a weird slab with a hard last cross move on a bad sloper.

Before starting B4, I knew it was possible as the two previous competitors before me had done it in 1 or 2 tries. To my dismay, I couldn’t complete the boulder. My first try, I did a harder sequence after missing a part of a volume I wasn’t acquainted with. On my second and probably best try, I mis-judged where the good part of a sloper was and hit it too high. Even hitting it high I almost stuck the move. On my 3rd, 4th and 5th tries, I was just too tired to stick the hard move. At the end of my 5 minutes, I smiled and waved at the crowd, something I try to do regardless of my performance.

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In the end, I was 1 try out of finals. I could’ve also done the 4th problem and secured myself for finals but we know I only did 3 boulders. That was the mistake of the competition, not completing a boulder I should’ve been able to do. I just have to eat that mistake and get ready for the next competition!

I watched the finals round a few hours later in the “athletes’ area” and had a blast. In the end Shauna Coxsey from Great-Britain won her second World Cup with Anna Stohr and Akiyo Noguchi completing the podium. Kilian Fischhuber took gold for the men over a false start from Adam Ondra which cost him first place. Adam settled in at second place with Rustam Gelmanov taking third.

Full results for the men can be found HERE and for the women can be found HERE.

Next competition is on home soil in Hamilton, Canada. This competition went 50/50 for me, I was so happy to be in top-10 again and mad at myself for making small mistakes and missing finals. Looking forward to the next one so my home crowd can cheer me into finals!

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Comments (4)

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    ” At the end of my 5 minutes, I smiled and waved at the crowd, something I try to do regardless of my performance.” – true respect for such attitude. Good luck!


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    Jackson Haber


    See you in Hamilton I will be there so good luck


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    John Meget


    There’s been some controversy about the new rule for starting each boulder problem, that requires both feet on the posted holds. That is the false start you noted, that cost Ondra 1st place in Innsbruck. Do you think the new rule is good, should they go back to the old way, or come up with something different still?


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      Sean McColl


      This isn’t a new rule, if there were 4 pieces of tape, it required the athlete to put 4 limbs on each piece of tape. The rule we introduced was a route setting rule which made it mandatory to have 4 pieces of tape. In past years, route setters could have any number from 1-4 pieces of tape.

      I think this rule is good as it is. Ondra made a mistake; all climbers know they must put 4 limbs and some judges are a bit stickier than others, but climbers should do it correctly! It’s obviously a pretty big shame that it cost him the win, but maybe it’s lucky it happened to Ondra and not someone who is unable to win another one in the future.


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