Meet the First-Ever American Climber to Qualify For the Olympics — and Watch Her in Action
Brooke Raboutou, 20, has said in the past that she started climbing by the time she could walk. Footage of her on the rocks shows how flexible she is, how fast she can go, and how much grip strength her fearless fingers have. For lack of a better word, she's a natural. At the 2019 IFSC Climbing World Championships in Hachioji, Japan, the Boulder, CO, native became the first American to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in sport climbing, and we can't wait to finally see her compete this summer for Team USA!
"When I'm on a high rock, I feel I'm in control and just happy," Raboutou told Thnkr in 2013. The challenge of it all excites her. At the time, she was just 11 years old and setting records worldwide. According to one of her coaches, Garrett Gregor, she was the first 9-year-old to climb V10 and the first 10-year-old to climb V11, which are pro-level bouldering grades. At 10 years old, she became the youngest woman to do a 5.14a climbing grade. When she was 11, she was the youngest person to do a 5.14b climbing grade, NBC Sports reports.
Raboutou was the 2018 lead youth world champion for 17- and 18-year-olds, the 2017 combined youth Pan American champion for 17- and 18-year-olds, and the 2016 combined youth world champion for 15- to 16-year-olds, teamusa.org reported. In March 2019, she was named to the first-ever US overall national team.
Raboutou's mom, Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou, was actually a world champion climber, winning four consecutive World Cup titles. She's a five-time US champion as well. Raboutou's dad, Didier Raboutou, was a three-time World Cup champion, and Shawn, Raboutou's older brother, has also seen success as a seasoned climber.
This is the first time sport climbing will be featured in the Olympic Games. There are three disciplines — lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering — and each nation is allowed two women and two men. Raboutou will be joined by Kyra Condie on the women's side and Nathaniel Coleman and Colin Duffy on the men's side. Each competitor's scores in the three disciplines are combined to determine the final rankings. Ahead, check out Raboutou in action.