The first members of the first-ever U.S. Olympic Climbing Team are official! At USA Climbing’s Combined Invitational in Salt Lake City over the weekend, Kyra Condie and Zach Galla came away with first place finishes in the Olympic-style competition, guaranteeing them spots on Team USA.
The Combined Invitational, organized by USA Climbing, was the first Olympic-style competition held on American soil. USA Climbing invited only 29 women and 26 men to the event, athletes widely considered to be the best American competition climbers. Ultimately, 18 women and 23 men accepted the invitation and competed for the top spot that would earn them a place on Team USA.
Women’s rankings put Natalia Grossman, 17 years old, from Boulder, Colorado in third; Brooke Raboutou, also 17 years old, from Boulder in second; and Kyra Condie, 22, of Shoreview, Minnesota in first.
Women’s Speed was the first event, with Kyra Condie vs. Claire Buhrfeind. Buhrfeind fell while Condie got a time of 9.27. Brooke Raboutou went up against Margo Hayes, and pulled ahead with a time of 10.57. Natalia Grossman climbed against Sienna Kopf. Kopf defeated Grossman with a time of 9.69, while Grossman had a time of 10.97. Final speed results put Brooke Raboutou in first, Piper Kelly in second, and Kyra Condie in third.
Next up was Women’s Bouldering: four minutes to try and complete each of three boulder problems. Problem one threw off all climbers, although Condie set a high point, matched by Raboutou. Grossman and Condie sent problem two, while Raboutou was unable to complete it. Condie was the only woman of the top three to complete the third boulder, putting her in first overall. Natalia Grossman took second in bouldering, putting her in third overall; and Margo Hayes claimed third in bouldering. After this event, Raboutou was knocked to second place overall.
Finally was Women’s Lead. Nobody completed the route, but Condie stuck a rose move that no other contender was able to pull, putting her in first in lead, and ultimately solidifying her spot as number one overall.
In an interview today, Condie said,”It was a very serious comp. But it was also a really good atmosphere because a lot of us are super-good friends. It was one of the best run comps I’ve been to in the US. Things went smoothly, the route setting was really good, and it was a whole new level from a production standpoint.”
A graduate of University of Minnesota’s 2018 Animal Science program, Condie now plans to spend time on traveling and training for the Olympics, before eventually attending veterinary school.
The men were up next, with Zach Galla, the 18-year-old from Suwanee, Georgia coming out of nowhere to take first. Nathaniel Coleman, 22, of Murray, Utah took second, and Sean Bailey, 21, of Seattle, Washington came in third.
Nathaniel Coleman shocked the audience by taking first in speed against the true speed specialists, who slipped up. Coleman bested Kai Lightner, John Brosler and Zach Galla, in that order. Brosler is America’s fastest climber—despite only taking third after a mistake—and set a new national record with an impressive time of 5.99, in his face-off against Sean Bailey .
Galla claimed second place in speed. He told ESPN Live, “I placed a lot higher than I thought I would.”
Men’s bouldering was next. On the second problem, a slopey-dyno move spit everyone off. Ultmately, Galla—who secured the high points on the second and third problems—took first in bouldering. Kai Lightner came in second, followed by Drew Ruana who took third.
Men’s Lead was the final event of the competition. Bailey fell off the second-to-last hold on the route, but won first in the event, earning him third place overall. Colin Duffy came in second lead, and Nathaniel Coleman took third in the event. Coleman snagged second overall, and Galla won the Men’s Combined Invitational—and a spot on team USA.