Molly Thompson-Smith: the super-motivated teenage star

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 22/01/2016
From the BMCTV film Portrait of a Champion by Rebecca Machin.
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How motivated should you be to rank Number One in the world? If you think about training every minute of the day, you might just have what it takes. Molly Thompson-Smith shares with us how much you have to want it to be the best.

BMC Ambassador Molly Thompson-Smith never stops thinking about training and competing. At 15 she became the youngest ever climber to win a senior GB competition. At 16 she was ranked number one in the world for her age category. At 17 she was struck down by finger injury – how would she cope? Molly talks about how she stays so motivated, come-back plans, and setting off to travel the world and climb when she finishes school this year.

I’m forever wishing time would speed up so I can just get to the climbing wall. Climbing is a beautiful sport – the idea of it, the movements, how natural it is – and it can take you to beautiful places. I know that I’ll always have something if I’ve got climbing.

The highlight of last year for me was going to Fontainebleau for the first time and finding out why everyone loves it so much! I haven't really experienced much outdoor climbing. I enjoy climbing indoors because you can be creative with setting interesting routes or blocs – you can set any type of move with any type of hold you want.

I’m trying to expand my climbing by getting outdoors more and am open to trying new and more adventurous sports. However, I think my priority will be, for as long as it can, competition climbing. 

I love competing. Full-stop. In anything I do, whether it's academic or sport. I'm really competitive with my family and friends. You name it. Comps is pretty much my life. I can't get rid of it. I've tried to chill out a bit but it just doesn't work. I'm going to be competitive forever I think. When I get home from school I go training. When I'm at school I'm thinking about training.

Thinking about what I could achieve if I put my mind to something keeps me motivated. If that extra set means I’ll get an extra move in a comp then I’ll take it. I also enjoy pushing myself – what’s the point in giving up when you know you can do that last 10 seconds of plank? I think giving up would be boring... what’s the point?

My proudest achievement so far was winning the European Youth Cup in Imst in 2014. It's my only international win so far and it was just such a surprise and so nice to be rewarded after years of training and disappointing competition results. I’m always pleased to make national finals in senior competitions too, but especially in bouldering, as there is such an established scene of people who have excelled in international competitions.

Then in February last year, I injured my finger and it ruined my whole season. It wasn’t until September that I could climb without pain. It was hard to hold back, especially when I knew how hard my international competitors were climbing. It’s been great to hear about and see the rest of the GB junior team's success in the competitions though; we’ve had a great year.

After such a successful 2014 though, where I was ranked number one in the world, all I wanted to do was prove that I deserved that win by being consistent again in 2015. I was so frustrated when I couldn’t perform at my max due to something so silly as a finger injury. It was hard to stay motivated during those months, and to feel so out of my depth at competitions. Not feeling prepared is something I hate and it was a common feeling of 2015.

It’s been 11 years since I first pulled on; I needed another sport to try for my 7th birthday and climbing fit the bill perfectly. I immediately loved it and begged my parents to let me go back. From then on, the wall became my second home and I see it almost more than I see my brother!

It can be hard when it’s cold at the wall and the heaters aren’t on but climbing is what I enjoy. Thinking about how much I’d miss it if I didn’t have it usually snaps me out of my lazy thinking!

I train with my coach Rob three times a week at the wall and then climb by myself once more in that week. With Rob, it’s usually fitness and endurance on a rope, or power and skills on the bouldering wall finished off with a lot of core and some stretching. I like to (well, not really like) run a couple times a week too, just to do something different.

When I’m at home I like to do some core and strength workouts on my bedroom floor. It’s not comfortable but it works! If I’m not busy at the weekend I’ll try to get to another wall in London, but it's very very rare that I have a free weekend as I’m usually competing or at a training event.

This year I want to stay injury free, finish my junior career strong and get back up there with the best. It would be nice if I could improve my performance in British comps too, but that’s always a goal.

2016 will be full of new experiences for me whatever happens, as I’ll finish school in June. Then I hope to get strong and compete and rock climb and then start travelling at the end of the year as part of my gap year before university. Of course there’ll be some climbing thrown into my travels – how could I go to these amazing places and miss out on the amazing climbing?

I really enjoy being a BMC Ambassador. The BMC supports my development as an international climber by providing the opportunities to represent our country. As well as this, the BMC strives to develop myself and the other team members as individuals, through media opportunities or by helping us to achieve our coaching qualifications. 

READ: Sixteen and crushing: Molly Thompson-Smith adds another medal to the haul


MEET: Our Ambassador Team

WATCH: BMC Ambassador Hazel Findlay on BMC TV

WATCH: BMC Ambassador James McHaffie on BMC TV

WATCH: BMC ambassador James McHaffie taking a fall from the Headwall Pitch of Salathé Wall on BMC TV

WATCH: Mary-Ann Ochota in Great Walks: Catbells on BMC TV

WATCH: BMC Ambassador Steve McClure on BMC TV


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Molly Thompson-Smith and Will Bosi make Lead finals in Chamonix
0

For the first time ever, we saw British athletes compete in both the women’s and men’s final of an IFSC Lead World Cup when the GB Climbing Team headed to the legendary mountain town of Chamonix. With both Molly Thompson-Smith and Will Bosi making it through semis, we were excited to see how they’d do in the finals.
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Meet the BMC Ambassadors
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All sports need role models and climbing and hill walking are no exception, so we’re excited that seven of Britain’s top climbers, one of Britain's most well respected hill walkers, and Britain's well-loved TV archaeologist turned adventurer, have all agreed to be part of our inspiring team of BMC ambassadors.
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