Natalia Grossman competes in the women's lead final at the IFSC Climbing World Cup on July 3, 2021 in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland.
A 26-year gold-medal drought is over for Team USA at the IFSC Climbing World Championships.
Twenty-year-old Natalia Grossman won the women’s bouldering competition on Wednesday in Moscow to claim the first world title for the U.S. since Robyn Erbesfield won the women’s lead competition in 1995. And if that wasn’t enough, Grossman added a silver medal in lead on Tuesday to close out the competition and become the first U.S. woman to win multiple medals at a single world championships. Coupled with Noah Bratschi’s bronze medal in men’s speed climbing, Team USA led all nations with three medals.
“I don't really have many feelings right now because (I) don't know what to feel,” Grossman said to Olympics.com afterwards. “I'm very excited and I just can't believe it really, but at the same time I can. I think it'll take some time to soak in.”
Grossman, a University of Colorado student, didn’t qualify for climbing’s debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 but has beaten Olympic competition before. At the first world cup of 2021, she became the first person to beat eventual Tokyo gold medalist Janja Garnbret since 2018. Grossman and U.S. Olympian Brooke Raboutou are close friends and training partners, and Raboutou was there to celebrate with her in Moscow.
Bratschi, a 21-year-old from Potomac, Maryland, was competing in his first senior world championships. He finished second in speed at the 2018 youth world championships and competed in two world cup events in 2021.