Courtesy of World of Freesports
Impressive, gravity-defying moves on vertical walls are guaranteed when the world’s best bouldering athletes fight for an entry to the superfinal at the annual adidas ROCKSTARS invitational that is hosted in Germany on the 21st and 22nd of September. The prestigious event draws the top stars of the climbing scene to Stuttgart’s Porsche-Arena, because it stages enthralling competition bouldering as intoxicating show. The popular invitational contest for the international climbing elite takes place for the eighth consecutive time and this year sees one of finest fields ever. Around 3,800 spectators canshare the excitement when World and European champions, World Cup winners, and national champions impressively demonstrate why bouldering, i.e. climbing without a rope over a crash pad, is considered one of the most difficult disciplines in sport climbing. Since 2011, the German sporting goods manufacturer adidas hosts pro-am bouldering competitions under the name of ‚adidas ROCKSTARS‘ and ‚Ticket to Rockstars‘ around the globe. The international series climaxes at the global invitational contest in Stuttgart, for which participants of the national comps (e.g. Japan, Russia) and grassroots events can qualify. The goal of competitive bouldering is to solve short and complex climbing problems in a limited time using as few attempts as possible. Apart from power, extreme flexibility and creativity, athletes need motivation and adrenaline to reach maximum performance, which is why adidas ROCKSTARS combines white-knuckle competition bouldering with show acts and live music. Hot DJ battles, this year with beatbox legend DJ Eklips from Paris, create an intoxicating atmosphere. Only invited athletes can take part in adidas ROCKSTARS. The start list reads like the who’s who of bouldering. Exactly one week after the World Championships in Innsbruck, some athletes may have some unfinished business and the crowd can look forward to an exciting competition. The field includes the defending champion, Alex Puccio (USA) who already won twice in Stuttgart, this year’s overall Bouldering World Cup Champions Miho Nonaka (JPN) and Jernej Kruder (SLO), 19 year-old Janja Garnbret (SLO), Lead World Champion 2016, Overall Lead World Cup Winner 2017 and a truly exceptional talent, Jongwon Chon (KOR), the (still) reigning Bouldering World Champion Petra Klingler (SUI), the two European Champions Staša Gejo (SRB) and Jan Hojer (GER), as well as triple adidas ROCKSTAR and four time World Champion Combined (L/S/B) Sean McColl (CAN), who couldn’t compete last year due to an injury and co-commentated the livestream instead. Over 70 athletes from more than 20 different countries were invited to adidas ROCKSTARS this year. They first have to make it through the qualification and semi-final. The top 6 men and women advance to the great final on Saturday evening. They fight in two rounds for the entry to the superfinal. Here, the top 2 compete in direct comparison on a so-called “super boulder” that was specifically created for the event. The athletes climb simultaneously an identical route on two sides of the same boulder. In this thrilling duel the two superfinalists need both, excellent skills and good nerves. Although the climbers cannot see each other, the cheers of the crowd adumbrate what is happening on the other side.