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Olympic Hopefuls Alex Puccio, Sean Bailey Earn Gold, Silver At Bouldering World Cup In Vail

By Paul D. Bowker | June 09, 2018, 8:57 p.m. (ET)

A home course worked out perfectly this week for sport climbers Alex Puccio and Sean Bailey.

Puccio claimed the women's gold medal and Bailey the men's silver at the IFSC World Cup bouldering competition Saturday in Vail, Colorado.

Sport climbing – with events in bouldering and lead and speed combined – will make its debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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Puccio, who was fourth in Vail last year, reached the podium at a world cup for the first time since June 2014, when she took bronze in Toronto and followed that up with a career-best silver at the 2014 world championships.

Climbers from Japan - Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi - took silver and bronze behind Puccio. American Kyra Condie was fifth, earning her best career world cup finish.

Sean Bailey competes during the men's bouldering qualification round at the IFSC World Cup on June 2, 2018 in Tokyo.

Bailey, who is ranked 37th in the world, earned his first world cup medal. He made the world cup circuit in 2016 after finishing first as a junior in the 2014 Pan American Youth Championship.

Rei Sugimoto of Japan won the men’s event, and Bailey edged out Tomoa Narasaki of Japan for second place. Four of the top six men's spots went to Japanese climbers.

The next world cup is July 6-7 in Villars, Switzerland.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.