Natalia Grossman celebrates after finishing in first during the women's bouldering finals at the IFSC Climbing World Cup on May 30, 2021 in Salt Lake City.
When the world came to a screeching halt in March of 2020, Natalia Grossman had so many more questions than answers.
There was just so much uncertainty everywhere in every facet of life.
Then a teenager at 18, Grossman decided to stay positive and focus on her academics at the University of Colorado. She also managed to fit in plenty of time to train as the COVID-19 pandemic eventually eased a bit.
Still, Grossman had no idea how her athletic future would unfold. She did know this much: so much of what was transpiring worldwide was out of her control.
“There were definitely some hard times,” Grossman said in a recent interview. “As hard as the pandemic was, I’ll be honest — I think the pandemic actually helped me because it allowed me to focus on my studies. Even through it all, I was able to move to Salt Lake City and begin training there. I just tried to stay as positive as possible.”
The positivity sure worked.
Over the weekend Grossman, now 20, captured a second straight world cup win in bouldering at an event in Salt Lake City. She’ll have another opportunity for hardware this Sunday, when a second bouldering world cup is held there.
After claiming the bouldering world title in 2021, Grossman is now ranked No. 1 in the world this season and has medaled in all three world cup events so far this season. On Sunday she became the lone climber to come up with four tops and four zones in the women’s competition.
All of this success for Grossman may add up with the ultimate reward — a trip to the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Let that sink in.
“It would be so cool to be there in Paris,” Grossman said. “I’m so excited for the ride and to see where it takes me. I’m so focused on climbing and having fun while living out a dream. How many people get to do that?”
When Grossman was younger, she was a typical girl with a litany of interests. Figuring out when she was going out for pizza and ice cream with her family and friends and having a normal childhood was everything.
Climbing wasn’t on her radar.