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Hold Tight: U.S. Sport Climbing Team's Olympic Debut Delayed

Photo of a woman standing in front of an indoor rock climbing wall
Nate Hegyi
Athlete Kyra Condie at USA Climbing's training facility in Salt Lake City last year.

The U.S. sport climbing team’s hopes and aspirations are on pause after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year due to the COVID–19 pandemic. 

“It’s just a funny feeling when you finally get there and then you put it on hold,” said Meg Coyne, a coach for USA Climbing’s national team, which trains in Salt Lake City.

The sport, along with surfing, karate and skateboarding, was gearing up to make its debut in the games this summer and the postponement has shaken up the team’s preparation.

“Obviously health comes first,” Coyne said. “That being said, athletes are scrapping training plans and looking at the next year of their lives in a totally different way.”

This includes implementing social distancing into their workout routines. Coyne is coaching her athletes over the phone and many are training at home, including hanging from door frames and doing core exercises. But she said, at least for now, the team is at the top of their game. She hopes that doesn’t change in the coming months.

“It makes me nervous, sitting on top and not wanting to fall,” Coyne said. 

On Monday the International Olympic Committee announced it would now hold the games between August 25 and September 5, 2021. 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public BroadcastingFollow Nate Hegyi on Twitter @natehegyi.

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