Cheesecake 9a FA as Olympic preperation by Tom O'Halloran

1 June 2021

Tom O'Halloran, the Oceania Olympic representative, who previously has done three 9a's, out of which two FA's, has done the FA of Cheesecake 9a in Nowra. It is 10 meters and 19 moves in total which took him 5-6 sessions to do. Interestingly, there are two extensions to be done making it an, at least, 40 meters long 9b+. "There was a move I couldn’t do last year and it was difficult to link more than a few moves together. I was able to quickly do the undone move this season and get some very good links on day one. In the end, it felt easy."

Please say something about the possible extensions?
There is a 15 meter 9a section that you can climb right after clipping the anchor of Cheesecake. A friend bolted it about 10 years ago and I spent 2 days cleaning it up last year as it had not been tried since. I then bolted a further extension to the top of the cave. Another 10-15m which, in itself will be perhaps 36+. So all in all the project will be bouldery 9a into sustained 9a into very bouldery and sustained 9a++. All separated by good rests. It could be Australia’s first 9b+ when it goes. I’m very excited to invest time into it when the Olympics is over.

Will you do any international comps before Tokyo?
No international comps in the lead up to the Olympics. Australia has very strict 2-week hotel quarantine rules when you arrive back from overseas. Being stuck in a hotel room for 2 weeks away from training is not worth it for a comp. I’m ok with it though. We have a state lead and speed comp coming up and there will be a local boulder comp right 10 days before I fly out.

How is your Olympic training preparation going on?
Olympic prep is coming along well. I just keep training hard and doing the best with what I have. We will do some comp simulations and I’ll do the two domestic competitions we have before I leave. I feel confident in the plan my coach has put together and my partner is a sport dietitian so I have my nutrition sorted too. I can’t wait to put on my uniform and compete with everyone else. It’s going to be great.

How much and how do you train and what about Speed training and PB
The last training periods were every day basically, 2-3 sessions a day. The intensity varied though. Not every day was max efforts. The next 2 months will be more about climbing and climbing well. Speed is 7.07 and I train it 2 sessions a week on the wall
How much financial support are you getting from your Olympic committee?
Nothing really. We are in a fringe sport globally and in Australia, it’s even more fringe. I’m doing my best to bring more public awareness to the sport. If the public gets psyched, the people with money start to notice, from there, things become easier. No excuses though 😀 I’m psyched with where I’m at and totally humbled to be the person stepping into new territory here in Aust. I hope to see more Australians on podiums soon!

So are you working or how do you get food on the table for your family?
I am working bits and pieces. I have also been fortunate to have people donate to a crowdfunding page to help me with preparations. I have had some sponsors help out with a small amount of financial support as well. It all adds up to get us through.

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