Sandra Lettner of Austria became Sport Climbing’s first Youth Olympic Games gold medalist in Buenos Aires today, and fellow Youth Olympians Vita Lukan of Slovenia and Austrian Laura Lammer were awarded the silver and bronze medals.
Quick steps in Speed, last second efforts in Bouldering and short rests in Lead, the smallest of movements made the difference in the women’s Combined final today. Lammer gained an early advantage in the morning by placing 1st in the Speed discipline. She raced smoothly on the 15-metre Speed climbing wall in the quarterfinal and edged teammate Lettner in a close semi-final, both athletes racing to times under 10 seconds. Elena Krasovskaia (RUS) eliminated Hannah Meul (GER) in the semi-final – who advanced with the best time among quarterfinal losing athletes – on the fastest time of the entire round. Two early slips proved costly for Krasovskaia in the 1st place race, and Lammer regained her footing after slipping high up the wall to seal 1st place in Speed. In the 3rd place race, Lettner got off to a quick start against Meul and never gave up the lead.
Blank volumes with only tiny foot holds and sparse hand holds screwed on challenged the six finalists on the short Bouldering wall – where the finalists had 4 minutes to top 4 individual problems. Vita Lukan (SLO) stretched her body to the limit in catching a dynamic toe hook to stay on W1 and continued upward for the first top of the round. Mao Nakamura (JPN) flashed the problem to take an early lead, and Lammer and Lettner also topped. The finalists leapt from the starting hold of W2, and five athletes connected all the big moves. Lettner, Lukan and Nakamura continued to find solutions on the W3 slab, displaying a combination of balance and technique. Lettner stayed in the hunt for the best result in Bouldering by creeping her hands to the top hold with five seconds left on the clock. Ahead by top attempts – the second tie-breaker after zone points – Lukan sealed 1st place in Bouldering and improved her positioning in the Combined ranking by flashing the concluding power problem. Every athlete topped W4, including Nakamura who flashed to place 2nd behind Lukan by one top attempt, followed just as closely by Lettner. Lammer maintained her spot atop the Combined ranking by topping three problems.
Speed made the difference on the forearm-pumping Lead route – where the goal is to reach the top hold and time breaks ties. Multiple athletes showed incredible endurance by rising to the top hold of the towering Lead climbing wall. Meul completed the first top of the round, followed by Krasovskaia who didn’t let go until the very last draw was clipped. Lettner and Lukan completed tops as well, leaving Lammer to decide the medals as the Combined leader and last climber of the day. Lammer endured until the last moves and fell two holds shy of the top hold, and Meul placed 1st in Lead with the fastest top. Six seconds faster on the Lead route, Lettner tied Lukan in the Combined ranking and won the first gold medal for Sport Climbing at the Youth Olympic Games by placing better than Lukan in two of the three disciplines – the Combined tie-breaker. Bouldering winner Lukan won the silver medal, scoring well in Bouldering and Lead. Lammer and Muel tied in the Combined ranking as well, and Lammer claimed Austria’s second medal in Buenos Aires by scoring better than Meul in Bouldering and Speed.
Replays and results can be found on the Buenos Aires event page, and tune-in for the next LIVE streaming tomorrow, October 10th, at ifsc-climbing.org starting from 9:00 GMT-3 (local time). More Sport Climbing medalists at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires will be decided with the men’s Combined final!