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Jakob Schubert, a climber who took the bronze medal in Tokyo, share with us his impressions about the Olympics.

Photo by IFSC

It's incredible! I set for myself the goal of winning a medal early on. I always articulated this goal and worked hard and meticulously towards it over the past few years. With this goal in mind, I traveled to Tokyo on the 26th of July and went into qualifications on Tuesday; I achieved two personal bests in the speed competition and won in lead climbing. With this goal in mind, I also went to the Aomi Urban Sports Park today. Along with Tomoa Narasaki from Japan and Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic, all of the favorites to win were there to fight for the podium. I wanted to show that I am one of the best in the sport.

After an incredibly exhausting day, I have now actually achieved this ambitious goal. I still can't fully process it - so much went against me today. The placements in speed were unexpectedly distributed; Bassa Mawem, the French speed climber, didn't start due to injury; Tomoa didn't take first place. While I was happy with my performance in bouldering, the result didn't reflect that. I'd almost given up hope of a medal.

During lead climbing, my disappointment was already so great that I channeled all that frustration onto the wall. I had to give everything I had, I knew that - but I didn't believe it would be enough, even with a first-place finish. After I topped out, I didn't even know that I had the medal. Only after our national coach Reini Scherer pointed out to me that I was third could I believe it. What a moment - I won't forget anytime soon.

It was a fight till the end, and lead climbing brought me a medal again - it's just amazing. I feel so incredibly fit in this competition. It obviously doesn't matter how I enter the round - it just always works.

The bronze medal means so much, but I have to process it first. It all happened so fast. I've worked so hard for so long. There's a lot of sweat behind this medal. That means everything to me. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Alberto Ginez Lopez and Nathaniel Coleman on their gold and silver medals!

Photo by IFSC

Did you feel the difference between the Olympics and the World Cup event? What was it?

The Olympic competition was definitely the one where I was most nervous up until now! I was under a lot of pressure – from myself as well as my environment and the media.

As a professional athlete, you’re used to proving your skills over a longer period of time as well as on a specific day. This consistency is what makes a skilled athlete on the one hand. The mental part to deliver under the pressure of a big event like the Olympic Games on the other hand.

In the past, I proved already that I can perform on a specific day, but Olympia is probably one level up. It’s not guaranteed that things will work out on that day. You’re there and you know that you’ve done everything to maximize the chances to secure a medal. Then there’s this extra bit of luck, which you never know if it’s going to be on your side.

What about Paris 2024, do you have it in mind?

Paris 2024 is a big goal for me. Completely independently from the medal from Tokyo. I just enjoy climbing, I love to train for challenging competitions. Why should I stop as long as I have so much fun doing what I’m doing?

The good thing is that my weakest discipline will be a separate competition by then and boulder and lead will be the two combined disciplines. Maybe I can even ‘lighten up' the color of the medal there…

Photo by IFSC

What can you say about the Route-setting in Tokyo?

It is always a difficult question but I think, especially in route climbing, they did a fantastic job in both women and men categories. Especially in the men’s, I climbed the routes and obviously, they took some risks because maybe the routes weren’t the most difficult ones ever but it was perfect in the end, with just one top in the finals. No top but almost top in quality, so I think the routesetting for the lead was basically perfect.

Bouldering, I don't think it went that well, obviously. Especially, for both rounds for the men, it was not that much fun to climb on and it was also not the best show, especially in the finals. It was all about just one boulder; the first boulder got mostly flashes and the third boulder got nothing or no tops and everyone flashed a bonus so it was all about the second boulder, which was a really good boulder but it shouldn't be about only one boulder. The bouldering setting was a bit disappointing in both women’s and men’s.

Did you like the climbing wall and the organization of the competition?

I think both were really great. I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw only the pictures, especially about the bouldering wall. But it was way better than I expected it to be. I thought it is going to be more slabby. It was maybe no the best bouldering wall ever, it was still bit slabby but it was still pretty ok. It was possible to set good boulders on the walls.

Lead was really good as well, especially, since they were only setting one route at a time so they could always choose the good line in the middle. It was also a lot about how it looks and I think the whole stadium just looked amazing, it was a really great set-up. The organization was all perfect especially with all the things they had to take care of because of the pandemic. Not just the organization of the competition but everything was really great, also in the Olympic Village, everyone was just really thankful that they pushed it through and worked really hard to make the whole Olympic Games happen although it is difficult times. So I am really thankful and I think the organization was really good!

Text by Yury Birilov, SKALOLAZ.PRO. All rights reserved.

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