Alberto Ginés wins first Olympic climbing gold medal in Tokyo



Ginés competes in the men's combined final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Maja Hitij / Getty Images

Ginés competes in the men’s combined final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Aomi Urban Sports Park, Tokyo

At 18, Alberto Ginés has just marked two pieces of history at the Tokyo Olympics: he is the first to be crowned gold medalist in sport climbing, as well as the youngest gold medalist in Spain.

The next fulcrum in his climbing career? “I’m going to look for another gold medal,” he told reporters.

Ginés won the men’s combined final with 28 points as climbing’s first Olympic climbing showdown ended in dramatic fashion at Aomi Urban Sports Park on Thursday.

The podium positions have constantly changed throughout the lead event – the last of three disciplines presented in Tokyo. American Nathaniel Coleman finished the night in second place with 30 points, while Austria’s Jakob Schubert, the only climber to overcome the leading wall, won a spectacular bronze medal with the final climb of the competition. to finish with 35 points.

Climbers were awarded points based on their ranking over three events – speed, bouldering and lead – which were multiplied together to give a final score, the lower the better.

Nathaniel Coleman, Alberto Ginés and Jakob Schubert pose with their medals.

Maja Hitij / Getty Images

Nathaniel Coleman, Alberto Ginés and Jakob Schubert pose with their medals.

Ginés said having his “head in the right place” was the key to his success.

“Over the past year my head hasn’t worked so well for me from the start [of] season, and I worked with a specialist, and I think now I can control him (my nerves) a little more, ”he told reporters.

The sun setting behind the climbing wall, which was lit by the night sky, provided a picturesque backdrop for the first-ever climbing final of the Olympics.

Two stadium presenters, one speaking English and the other Japanese, cheered and cajoled the climbers as they made their way towards the wall.

Outside the site, members of the public – unable to attend Olympic events in Tokyo amid the pandemic – lined the adjacent pedestrianized street to try and get a glimpse of the action.

At the end of the competition after four and a half hours, the three podiums had finally gone to the climbers who were at the top of the standings in each discipline.

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Ginés’s speed victory in the early evening laid the groundwork for his gold medal by beating Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki, who slipped down the wall in their head-to-head race, with a time of 6, 42 seconds.

Coleman won just one point after being the only contender to solve the second block, while Schubert clinched bronze with a superb lead performance that drew the biggest cheers of the night.

Lower in the overall standings, Czech Adam Ondra finished sixth despite being one of the favorites before the final.

Even with a strong performance in the lead, where he placed second, Ondra’s six bouldering points proved to be costly when it came to his final tally.

“It’s competition. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it doesn’t work for you, ”said Ginés. “Adam was one of the favorites, and today just wasn’t a good day for him.”

The sun sets in Tokyo behind the Aomi Urban Sports Park.

Maja Hitij / Getty Images

The sun sets in Tokyo behind the Aomi Urban Sports Park.

The women’s combined final will take place on Friday as the Olympic rock climbing debut draws to a close.

Among the climbers participating in the men’s event, it was hoped that Thursday’s final had been well received.

“It was, in many ways, a happy ending in that the public got to see how the layout of the road can affect the competition,” Coleman told reporters.

“The lead route was perfectly marked. When a man (Schubert) passes him at the very end, it’s the height of excitement in the lead climbing competition.

Ginés was also convinced that the sport had been a spectacle.

“I think our sport is very visual so people really like it. I don’t know how many viewers we were able to get, but… I’m very happy it’s on TV and people can see our sport.


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