The debut of sport climbing at the Tokyo Olympics has been nothing short of dramatic and Polish climber Aleksandra Miroslaw contributed to the spectacle Friday by breaking the speed climbing world record.
In what is possibly her last international competition, 27-year-old Miroslaw shed 0.12 seconds off the previous women's world record with her 6.84-second climb up the 15-meter wall at the Aomi Urban Sports Park.
With two international speed climbing championships, speed climbing is Miroslaw's specialty and she claimed the top rank in the discipline. Unfortunately, Miroslaw was just shy of winning the bronze even though she had the same final score as Akiyo Noguchi of Japan. The tie was split by the athletes' standings in the qualification round.
Miho Nonaka placed above her Japanese teammate and she went home with the silver. The gold went to Janja Garnbret of Poland.
The previous world record was held by Russian climber Iuliia Kaplina who failed to qualify for the women's speed climbing combined final. Kaplina was left in tears after she fell off the wall at the very last second of her qualification run.
The ROC athlete couldn't make up for the poor performance with better scores in the bouldering and lead climbing disciplines and she ranked 17th out of 20 competitors.
Sport Climbing in Tokyo
Sport climbing was added to the Tokyo Games along with skateboarding, karate, 3-on-3 basketball and surfing in an effort to draw younger generations.
But with the inclusion came an exception: speed climbing was part of the program.
The IOC is handing out two medals in climbing — one for men and women — and wanted something fast-twitch to catch people’s attention, so speed was included.
The decision rankled lead and boulder climbers; speed is a more specialized discipline and will have its own medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The key for the lead and boulder specialists would be to offset low scores in speed with high ones, even a first in one or both of the other two disciplines.