11 June 2008

Alex johnson

By Lynn Johnson - "I've seen her go from tween to gangly, awkward teen, to beautiful young woman. She trained a month for this comp, which is more than I've ever know her to train for anything."


Until one month ago when she finished school, she had to drive 3 hours roundrtip to the bouldergym and in 'Flat-Landia' there is not even boulders. Winning World Cup seems sensational with that background. However, she won the nationals and has taken two speed medals in Youth Worlds.

Driving to Vail, CO from Hudson, WI in your grandparents motor home with nine other people would make anyone cranky…that’s how Alex arrived.  Her only hopes were to place in the top 10, maybe make it into finals.  She knew the competition she was up against.  This was, by no means, Alex’s first international comp.  Anna Stohr(3rd) & Katharina Saurwein(2nd) were, who Alex felt, her biggest opponents.  She’d met and hung out with Anna  two years before in Austria at a comp where they became friends.  She also remarked that she thought Katharina “would totally kick her ass” in this comp.

                      Being that Alex qualified for the comp in first meant she would be last in running order.  She hates being last.  “Everyone expects you to be the best when you’re going last.  That’s a lot of pressure!”  By the end of the first day she was in the lead.  “Super hard first day!  Hardest comp I’ve been in!”  Yeah, I’d say!  With only problem, number 4, being topped out by anyone! 

                      Finishing the qualifier in first, she was in her dreaded last line-up spot again at the start of the semi-finals.  She said the second day the problems were a lot more fun.  She flashed the first two and just missed the forth in semi’s.  Then they were all allotted about 20 minutes between semi’s and finals to eat something.  She got a bowl of soup and glass of water down before she was herded back into isolation.  Lucky for her she was placed mid line-up for the finals, allowing her to relax a bit.  Though having the semi’s and finals crammed into the same day “made the finals really hard.”  She felt good before semi’s, but was getting tired and sun burnt by the end of  the day. 

                      She had no idea she might win, until they called out the standings after the first two finals problems.  She sat in a huddled ball with her head tucked into her knees, resting between turns.  “Huh?” was all she said when she heard her name announced last, in first.  She had completely surprised herself.  She then went on to flash the third problem and come very close on number four. 

                      By the end of the evening she had closely seeked out a first place finish.  Amazing  for someone coming from the Midwest, or “Flat-Landia”.  “There was only one steep problem, everything else was like 30 degrees.” Perhaps it’s the aggressive 60 degree wall at her home gym in St. Paul, MN, that gave her the edge?  Maybe it was her training hard for a month before the comp with her good friend Tyler Haack?  Most likely it’s her amazing, innate talent to climb anything in front of her.  We’re all so proud of how well she represented the “Flat Landers” in this very intense, long competition.