In a game-changing weekend for British competition climbing, Shauna Coxsey not only became the IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion, but was also awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours.
Following an exciting penultimate Boulder World Cup in Vail, Colorado, BMC ambassador Shauna Coxsey was narrowly beaten by US climber Megan Mascarenas for the gold medal, but most were concentrating on the fact that her silver medal was more than enough to claim the overall title of IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion 2016.
This triumphant feat is the first time any British climber has won the IFSC Boulder World Cup series, the closest we’d come before was last year and in 2013, when Shauna finished both years in second place. Other British climbers to receive an accolade are: Simon Nadin, who won the very first Lead World Cup Series before bouldering was invented, and Fran Brown who was the Paraclimbing World Champion back in 2012.
Shauna’s victory topped off her weekend as it came just hours after news that she’d been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, listed as “Climbing Champion, For Services to Climbing”.
WATCH: Shauna Coxsey win CWIF 2016 on BMC TV
On the back of her competition success, Shauna has been instrumental in raising the profile of women in sport. Including promoting the #thisgirlcan campaign, Shauna also co-founded the hugely successful Women's Climbing Symposium and has been a strong supporter of getting young people outdoors.
Hats off to our ambassador Shauna, all her success has been hard-earned through rigorous training and hard work, and is utterly deserved.
Shauna tweeted: “What a way to end an incredible day. Sat on the balcony watching this epic sunset. MBE and the World Title.”
Shauna celebrates taking the overall title with team-mate Leah. Photo: Leah Crane
Vail World Cup
The Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Colorado, is well-known for being one of the hardest comps in the series, but not because the problems are overly hard, it’s the altitude factor.
Leah Crane, GB Climbing Team member, said: “The resort sits at 8,100ft and for those who live at sea level, even walking up an incline was a shock, never mind battling your way up World Cup level boulders.”
Representing Team GB were Dave Barrans and Tyler Landman for the men, and Shauna Coxsey, Leah Crane and Michaela Tracey for the women. Qualifiers were tough due to a combination of tricky blocs and the searing sun. Shauna topped four of the five problems in six attempts, putting her through to semis in joint first. Dave and Tyler put in sterling performances, qualifying in third and 10th in their groups, respectively, and Michaela topped two blocs – one with only just two seconds to go – which also earnt her a place in semi-finals. Unfortunately, Leah had one fall too many and just missed out.
In the semi-finals, the men’s field was split by a combination of a finicky co-ordination slab and lots of jumping. Dave battled with the jumps and crimps to finish in 19th and Tyler came through in 10th. The women’s semis saw Michaela nearly flash the first problem, but couldn’t quite work out the last move. Unfortunately, the next three blocs followed a similar pattern, putting her in 14th place. Shauna’s place in the finals came down to the wire once again, as on the final bloc she needed to reach the top in no more than two attempts.
Leah Crane said: “Shauna made [the semi-final] even more intense by only having two attempts on the last bloc to make the cut to finals, and she dropped the first attempt. But in true Shauna style, she pulled it out the bag second go and topped to put her in sixth place.”
WATCH: Shauna talks gold with Grimer on BMC TV
Japan and Russia dominated the line-up in the men’s final, as Sean McColl was the only climber in the final from a different country. Most of the men failed to surmount a slippery slab, but Kokoro Fujii of Japan made it look easy with a flash. There were few other tops to be had, with everyone failing on the second and fourth problems, while the third saw five climbers top it. Fujii’s two tops easily secured him first place, and the rest of the field was separated by bonus holds and attempts.
The women’s final was electric with the crowd cheering on the two home athletes, Megan Mascarenas and Alex Puccio. However, Shauna came out and flashed the first two problems with an impressive display of route reading and perseverance. But it was the third bloc that separated the field – only Shauna and Megan made it through the awkward start, but Shauna slipped off trying to match a small, slopey, sweaty bonus hold, while Megan managed to inch her fingers along and catch the next hold.
Leah Crane said: “Shauna completed the fourth bloc on her second attempt after a false start without seeming to have to try too hard, but that didn't matter as Megan topped with ease.”
With four tops to Shauna’s three, Megan claimed gold and Shauna claimed silver, but Shauna’s amazing success this season, with four gold medals from six events, has emphatically and officially proved she’s the world number one and IFSC Boulder World Cup Champion.
Megan Mascarenas (USA)
Shauna Coxsey (GBR)
Anna Stohr (AUT)
Melissa Le Nevé (FRA)
Miho Nonaka (JPN)
Alex Puccio (USA)
Fujii Kokoro (JPN)
Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
Alexey Rubtsov (RUS)
Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)
Rustam Gelmanov (RUS)
Sean McColl (CAN)
WATCH: The highlights of the IFSC Boulder World Cup in Vail
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, Berghaus, and Rock Over Climbing, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.
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WATCH: Shauna Coxsey: This Girl Can Win on BMC TV