Santiago, Chile (October 24, 2023) – Alannah Yip of North Vancouver, BC made history for Canada on Tuesday in Santiago, Chile, capturing Canada’s first-ever Pan American Games medal in sport climbing after she won the bronze medal in the boulder and lead competition. Sean McColl of Vancouver, BC narrowly missed capturing bronze himself in boulder and lead, finishing fourth overall in the men’s competition on Monday.
A qualifying spot was on the line for the Paris 2024 Olympics to the top men’s and women’s finisher, so both Yip and McColl, who are not new to making history in Canadian sport climbing as both were Canada’s representatives in the sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, put out their best efforts in the bouldering section of the competition to move onto the lead portion in podium contention.
Yip hit two out of four tops in the boulder stage to move onto the lead stage in third position with 64.7 points. She progressed past the section that had tripped-up most of the competitors that came before her on the wall but fell off before reaching the top to score 64 to finish the day with a total score of 128.7 to take the bronze medal.
“I’m so happy and so proud to have won the first sport climbing medal at a major Games for Canada. I’ve been climbing for a long time, and I’ve seen climbing come through a lot of different stages. When I was a kid, I never could have imagined that climbing would be part of the Olympics or any major Games, and now to have been to both, and to win a medal is just incredible,” said Yip who first started competing in climbing at the age of 10.
Rebecca Frangos of Canmore, AB had her own challenges to overcome in the lead stage after the lights on the wall flickered on and off during her ascent, finally going completely black before she fell off to score a 57.1. She finished the day in seventh with a total score of 86.4, while Indiana Chapman of Toronto, ON finished just behind her in eighth with a total score of 85.8 – after the venue organizers were able to restore light to the wall following a 30-minute delay.
American climbers stood on the top two steps of the women’s podium with Natalia Grossman winning gold, and the first Pan American Games title in boulder and lead climbing with a total score of 172.4. Brooke Raboutou took the silver with an overall score of 165.4.
In the men’s competition, McColl was tied for first after the bouldering portion of the competition with a score of 84.5 after only missing out on the top of the last problem. Unfortunately, with a bad fall off that last bouldering problem, he ended up doing the lead stage with what turned out to be a cracked rib, and couldn’t perform to his best ability, ending the day in fourth with a total score of 132.6.
“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking too much about the podium. I was pretty happy to be able to climb. I took a pretty bad fall off boulder four, so I was happy that I got to climb because it was really hurting. But, I got to climb, and here we are fourth,” said McColl who at 36 was one of the oldest climbers at the competition and who acts as a mentor to his younger teammates.
“It’s an absolute privilege to mentor and lead them. I’ve been doing it the longest. Oscar (Baudrand) is 18, Victor (Baudrand) is 20 – I’m 36 – I’m twice their age. They have such a promising future. They could have beat me, it was close. I just see such a promising future for our athletes,” said McColl.
The Baudrand brothers finished just behind McColl with Oscar finishing fifth (87.4) and Victor sixth (83.1) respectively. American climbers swept the men’s podium with Jesse Grupper winning the first Pan American Games title in men’s boulder & lead with an overall score of 161.5. Sean Bailey took silver (141.6), while Zachary Galla took bronze (138.5).
“Slightly disappointed is the first thing that comes to mind,” commented Oscar after the lead segment was finished. “I expected more from myself, especially today. After the semi-final round I knew that fighting for a podium spot was doable and I wish that I could have been more present during the bouldering round and maximized on those tops that I dropped. But being here not just with my climbing team, but with all of Canada – I’ve never felt more Canadian, and more a part of a nation than here, and it’s really something I want to experience again.”
For full results please visit: https://results-santiago2023.org/#/discipline/CLB/schedule/daily/2023-10-24
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