Climber Coxsey back to basics in order to boost Tokyo chances

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

World’s best female boulderer must learn two new events for 2020.

Shauna Coxsey‘s bouldering skills have seen her crowned World Cup champion in 2016 and 2017.

The British climber has mastered bouldering, which involves the negotiation of short routes, or ‘problems’, close to the ground (usually below 4.5m) and without a rope.

Speaking to The Red Bulletin in an exclusive interview, she explained how she must get the hang of two new disciplines, lead and speed climbing, if she wants to add an Olympic gold to her medal collection when Tokyo rolls around in 2020.

Shauna Coxsey‘s fact file:

– She started to climb aged four with bouldering involving chalk, a chalk bag, climbing shoes and a ‘crash mat’ to prevent injuries.

– The Cheshire native spent her gap year aged 19 before a potential university spot seeing if she could make it as a pro and has never looked back.

– Standing 5ft 4in [163cm] tall, Coxsey is petite but strong with athletic fingers primed to grip hard.

– The 25-year-old from Runcorn trains at Plymouth’s new £500,000 bouldering cavern, The Climbing Hangar, where she practices moves like the ‘dyno’.

– She trains for more than eight hours a day, six days a week and often dangles by her fingertips in 30-second stints for hours on end with additional weights strapped to her.

– She is only the third woman ever to scale a V14-difficulty rock face and founded the Women’s Climbing Symposium – an annual event aimed at inspiring more women to take up the sport.

– She has recovered well from a snapped tendon inside her right ring finger back in January after battling back from a broken leg and dislocated shoulders before that.

– Coxsey earned an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours at the same time as her first World Cup title in 2016, which she added to in 2017 as well as victory at the elite La Sportiva Legends Only tournament.


“When I’m on a wall, I’m not thinking about what I need to do because I’ve already worked it out. It’s almost like playing chess against the wall.”

“[Learning lead and speed climbing] is like asking Usain Bolt to run a marathon, then do an egg-and-spoon race. They’re not just different disciplines, they’re different sports.”

“It will showcase our sport and I never imagined in my wildest dreams that climbing would be an Olympic sport. It’s such a young sport. This is like someone going, ‘Oh, you can go to Mars if you want.’ It feels that unlikely.”

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