Collin Duffy (16) Olympic interview

Saturday, 23 May

Colin Duffy participated in one IFSC comp in 2019, when he was #2 in Lead in the Youth World Championship. In 2017 and 2018 he won. By winning the final Lead event, as he was the fastest to top out, in the Pan American, he got a ticket to Tokyo. We sent over some questions to the 166 cm 16-year-old and got some interesting answers.

I started climbing when I found the sport at a local recreation center around 4 years old. I fell in love with the challenge of the wall and would beg my parents to let me do it again. From there I practiced the sport periodically until I started taking it seriously at age 8. I'd say my coach Robyn Raboutou has meant the most for my career. When I started on team ABC in 2012, she has always believed in me and motivated me to try harder and perform better.

The thing I love most about comps is the opportunity to try creative and well-set boulders/lead climbs, and hang out with other talented athletes from all over the world. The competition atmosphere is always super exciting and there is no other feeling like the adrenaline you get pre-climb.

I didn't really have my eyes on the Olympics until the start of 2020. Since I didn't compete on the adult circuit last year, I didn't know I would even have the chance to qualify until the finish of Toulouse. Also, to get to compete at the Pan American Championships I had place first go through the American Combined Championships. I'd say I gave the same effort for Olympics as I would for any big competition. I made sure my skill was peaking at the right time and I was mentally prepared. I'd say my parents had the biggest impact on me making it. They've supported me every step of the way and I was glad to have them by my side when I qualified.

During lockdown I have been mainly training on the climbing wall I have at my home, and doing virtual workout sessions with a personal trainer. While it's hard to find the motivation to train during quarantine I've tried to make the most of my sessions at home. Also, in Colorado restrictions are starting to ease up so I'll likely be able to climb in a gym regularly very soon. Just this last week I was able to get in my first session at ABC since the start of quarantine. Outdoor climbing is also an option for me but I haven't had the opportunity to get out as I've been focused on my studies.

If no comps are held this year, I'll just spend my time training specific weaknesses and working each individual discipline. Most notably I'm excited to try to make more improvement in my speed climbing. While it would be unfortunate if no comps are held this year as I lack experience on the international stage, I'll make the most out of my training.

While I still don't have as much outdoor experience as I'd like, I've gotten to go to some of America's best climbing spots in the past. My hardest boulder at this point is "The Grand Hustle" V13/8b which I did in Red Rocks, Nevada at age 11. My two hardest sport routes are "Pure Imagination" and "Southern Smoke" both located at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky and are both 5.14c/8c+. I actually did both of these routes on the same day during my short trip there. While I haven't nearly reached my potential outdoors, I look forward to getting outside in the near future and testing my limits. I'd say my goals for the next few years are to climb a V15/8c boulder and a 5.15a/9a+ lead route.


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