A rock-climbing prodigy from Boulder, Brooke Raboutou, will be the first competitive climber to represent the U.S.A. in the newly-added event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Boulder County is undoubtedly teeming with all kinds of talent as Brooke Raboutou, an 18-year-old Boulder native, qualify for the newly-added competitive rock-climbing event at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Raboutou makes history as the first-ever climber to represent the U.S.A in the Olympics. Now, that’s an even greater reason to celebrate for her hometown.
In Hachioji, Japan, when climbers had their first opportunity to earn spots at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Brooke Raboutou was among them, finishing ninth in the combined qualification round at the IFSC Climbing World Championships. With her exceptional performance, Raboutou was among the first seven women worldwide to qualify. Raboutou was sixth-fastest in the speed round, and seventh- and 10th-best in lead and bouldering.
Brooke badly wanted to win the competition. And with that, she was able to overcome disappointing results, leading her up to the World Championships. “If I don’t make a route, it’s just motivating because I don’t want to leave it undone,” the rock-climbing prodigy said.
The Boulder, Colorado native was born to be an Olympian.
Brooke is unique in the sense that she comes from a long line of champion world cup climbers. Her parents, Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou and Didier Raboutou, are two former world champion climbers who own a rock-climbing gym and from a very young age, climbing has been a huge part of Raboutou’s daily life.
Brooke spends 15 hours a week climbing, and another 9 hours of training, often under her mother’s tutelage. From gym practice to weekend climbs, she puts in a lot of practice and hard work. “She really has the full package,” her Coach Garrett said. “For one, she has these incredibly strong fingers. If she gets a hold, she’s going to hold onto it. Also, she’s been able to maintain that baby flexibility where she’s able to twist and turn into these positions that average climbers are not just able to do.”
Brooke Raboutou is a climbing phenom.
She sets all the precedents in rock climbing that the top elite climbers were having trouble doing. Brooke is one of the two female climbers in the world at the young age of 11 to be setting records. She was the first 9-year-old to do V10. She was also the first 10-year-old to do V11 and 5.14A. She’s the first 11-year-old to climb 5.14B which only a few of the climbing community can do these climbs. Brooke wants to climb the hardest route since she was just itty bitty. She’s able to do climbs that people once thought were impossible.
In recent years, Raboutou earned top honors in her age category which includes: 2018 lead youth world champion, 2016 combined youth world champion and 2017 combined youth Pan American champion. Earlier this year, she was named to the first-ever U.S. overall national team.
The field in Tokyo will feature 20 athletes per gender with a maximum of two per country, and the first seven were to come from the 2019 world championships. For the medal event in Tokyo 2020, athletes will compete in speed, bouldering, and lead, with their placement based on results from all three. Traditionally, climbers only specialize in one or two of the three disciplines and compete in them separately on the world cup circuit. Athletes will have two more opportunities to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Climbing Team at this fall’s Olympic Qualifying Event and next year’s continental championships.
Since Raboutou has already qualified, she won’t have to go to either Olympic Qualifying event. She plans to commit herself to be a full-time college student at the University of San Diego, then commits to full-time Olympic training after the new year, either in Boulder or Salt Lake City.
For the past few weeks, Brooke Raboutou has been the talk of the town and how cool it is that she made it. So many people are so proud of her and her victory also feels like Boulder County’s victory.
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