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Brooke Raboutou Places Fifth In Olympic Debut Of Climbing

By Bob Reinert | Aug. 06, 2021, 12:18 p.m. (ET)

Brooke Raboutou during the Sport Climbing Women's Combined Final at the Tokyo Olympic Games on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. 
She’s small in stature, but 5-foot-2-inch Brooke Raboutou has a way of coming up big when it’s necessary.
Unfortunately, Raboutou didn’t quite reach the podium in Friday’s women’s climbing final at Aomi Urban Sports Park. Instead, the 20-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident had to settle for a fifth-place finish in the Olympic debut of her sport, which features three disciplines combined into one — speed, bouldering, and lead. 

Six-time world champion Janja Garnbret of Slovenia added to her reputation as the world’s best female climber by taking the gold medal with a combined total score of 5.0 points. Garnbret placed first in both bouldering and lead and was fifth in speed.

Japan’s Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi claimed the silver and bronze with 45.0 and 64.0 points, respectively. 

Raboutou, who had 84 total points for fifth, had qualified for the final in fifth place. The top eight climbers advanced. U.S. teammate Kyra Condie of Salt Lake City placed 11th and missed the final. 

“I’m happy with my climbing overall, and that was my only goal. I just wanted to walk away content,” Raboutou said after qualifying for the final. “I was very happy with speed performances today. I was able to get two very clean runs, which is not always the case in speed competition.

“The wall is great. Everyone is psyched. There were definitely a few nerves for me at the beginning, as expected, but overall, I’m happy with my times.”

Raboutou talked about the strength of the U.S. sport climbing team.

“It’s pretty special,” Raboutou said. “I’m so excited that our U.S. team has been able to step it up this last year, and I think we all feel each other’s energy and are thriving off each other as a team, and that’s just making a big difference. We’re here to stay, so we’re excited.”

Raboutou said she enjoys the camaraderie in sport climbing, regardless of nationality.

“I think the climbing community is one of the most special things about climbing,” Raboutou said. “Everyone is genuinely happy for each other and wants each other to succeed. Everyone knows each other. It’s just a tight-knit community.”

Though Raboutou fell short of the podium this time, she has had her share of success. The first American climber to ever qualify for an Olympic Games, she won a silver medal in lead and a bronze in bouldering at the 2021 world championships and has three total world championship medals in a pair of appearances.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.

Bob Reinert

Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Brooke Raboutou