GB Climbing's Will Bosi and Molly Thompson-Smith have qualified for tomorrow's IFSC European Championships Combined Final in 3rd and 6th place respectively following a strong performance in today's Combined Qualifier event. The top 8 competitors from today's qualifying round will aim to win tomorrow's final and clinch a ticket to Tokyo — the last quota place available to European athletes.
Buzzing, can’t wait for the final! Well done guys!
Didn’t realised Charlie had stepped back from commentating, really enjoyed listening to his insight and I hope he finds success in the future.
This may not be a popular opinion but....
I cant help find watching speed climbing really tedious, once you've watched one you've seen them all.
Looking forward to the other disciplines.
> Didn’t realised Charlie had stepped back from commentating, really enjoyed listening to his insight and I hope he finds success in the future.
Yes, missing him too!
Matt's doing pretty well, although he does seem to let his excitement at just sitting in that seat get him carried away sometimes. His enthusiasm can be infectious though, and his use of the English language can add extra entertainment: "Bouldering is her specialism!", or my favorite so far: "Still two women left. No, one women!"
Been watching a lot this week, and the coverage has been pretty good with some great camera work. Only one criticism: I wish they wouldn't constantly change camera angles in the middle of crux dynos!
I find it pretty incredible that, having been commentating the event all week, Matt Groom still struggles to pronounce Russian and even some western-European names, including the ones that have been in every single round of multiple disciplines. The 'insights' he offers are of the sort of quality I'd expect of a parent hanging about in the cafe section of a wall in Milton Keynes during a childrens' birthday party who had a six-month interest in climbing a decade ago ("a heel hook is when one of the athletes uses a heel to steady themselves on the climbing wall"), and his incessant pandering to the YouTube live chat is reminiscent of a 15-year-old streaming videogames to an audience of other 15-year-olds.
I just watched a lot of this and it was really entertaining comp however I am even less convinced about the format. The pure speed climbers were humiliated by the lead routes and boulder problems.
What was worse to me though was the scoring system. In the Mens comp Sascha Lehmann was in 1st place on lead ahead of Aleksei Rubstov (3rd) until they were both beaten by Shemla Yuval and knocked down to 2nd and 4th respectively. That has more impact on the person going from 1st to 2nd since their score doubles, whereas going from 3rd to 4th only increases your score by 25%. This meant Aleksei overtook Sascha without getting out of his chair.
Are there any other sports where the finishing order of competitors A and B can be switched by the performance of competitor C?
Yes, this was such a shame!
I think this feels counter-intuitive, but it's just as it should work. It gives a premium on coming first. Sascha isn't really in first until the comp is finished, because the whole point is that it's relative positions that count. I think it feels unsatisfying because the final competitor couldn't win in both the men's and women's events, but their performance affects the outcome exactly the same as it did in any other round.
I really feel for the speed climbers spending 12 minutes falling off the first move of the boulder problems with no joy. At least they get a few moves up the lead ones, but it makes a mockery of both them and the format I think.
It was a similar situation with Staša and Viktoriia. If Molly had topped the Lead route, or if Eliska had topped it quicker, then Staša would have won Combined.
I think a big issue in the final was the Lead routesetting, though. Olympic spots coming down to time is not ideal. Hats off to the setters though as I can't imagine how they judged the level for this comp!
Yeah, Charlie's quote 'It's not over 'til it's over in Combined!' is true, but it's nonetheless quite a brutal format!
Yes, absolutely brutal for both in second place!
> Are there any other sports where the finishing order of competitors A and B can be switched by the performance of competitor C?
Suspect this might be surprisingly common. It's not a sport as such, but in the absence of any real-world stuff just now I'm playing in a five-round online chess tournament every Thursday evening on a platform called Lichess. The first tiebreak for people finishing level on points is the sum of the scores of anyone you've beaten plus half the sum of the scores of anyone you've drawn with. Hence even if the last game to finish in round five involves players well down the overall order, it can have a significant effect on the top-three placings given that it's highly likely some of the top performers will have played and beaten the people lower down. Basically what it boils down to is that if you've beaten someone then you want them to do well in the other rounds, to boost your tiebreak. The worst thing is if you beat someone in say round two and they then go off in a huff, as it means their remaining games will be scored as zero which is of no benefit to you at all.
> Are there any other sports where the finishing order of competitors A and B can be switched by the performance of competitor C?
I think there would be examples in any sport where points are scored for rounds in some form, with a weighting for winning. E.g. in Formula one you get 25 for winning, 18 for second and 15 for third. It's possible that at the end of the season A needs to beat B by 5 points to win the championship. If C beats you both into 2nd and 3rd then B wins overall, if C got a puncture and you got 1st and 2nd then A wins overall.
Looks absolutely brutal on the athletes as mentioned, and yes, rough on poor speed climbers, but jeez those last moments of both finals had me heart racing! Do think it makes for good TV, even if the format is a little contrived....
Not quite the same though since you are racing at the same time so the race is still in your hands when C overtakes you although it is slightly similar to the way Hamilton won his first WC back in 2007 where the car in front got a puncture and he got extra points overtaking it.
The fact that it happened in both today’s comps and, as Nat pointed out, there were two ways it could have happened in the Women’s comp, strikes me as a design fault rather than a freaky quirk.
Amazing stuff! But also speed climbing?! Really? Can anyone tell me about its origins? Does it have some merit im missing out on?
The Russian guy with the fair hair was brutally strong though. He made some of the grim slopers look like jugs.
The speed guy from Poland just looked so far out of his depth in the bouldering, particularly so on the last problem with the "sit" start. There has been talk about making the speed comp separate and combining only lead and boulder - much better idea.
Similar sort of events when Hamilton won his first F1 title in 2008. When Felipe Massa crossed the line in 1st at the last race, Hamilton was 6th and Massa was due to win the title. On the last lap the car in front of Hamilton broke down in some way and slowed, on the very last turn Hamilton passed him in to 5th and that meant he moved ahead of Massa in the championship after Massa had finished the race.
It's the multiplicative scoring that makes this situation in climbing quite common. You could do it additively and that would produce slightly less weirdness. But my memory from when this was all discussed before is that multiplication was preferred because it makes the difference between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd so much more important than the difference between 5th and 6th or 7th and 8th. It's supposed to really incentivise a win. Which to be fair is exactly what happened today - if Sascha had won the lead, he'd have qualified, but coming second was nowhere near as good for his score, so he didn't. Couldn't help feeling sorry for him after the way he climbed but I think Rubtsov is also very deserving of a place. If the Israeli guy had climbed before Sascha no-one would be complaining about the system, it would have just been a really exciting finish in which Sascha didn't quite make it.
> It's the multiplicative scoring that makes this situation in climbing quite common. You could do it additively and that would produce slightly less weirdness. But my memory from when this was all discussed before is that multiplication was preferred because it makes the difference between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd so much more important than the difference between 5th and 6th or 7th and 8th. It's supposed to really incentivise a win. Which to be fair is exactly what happened today - if Sascha had won the lead, he'd have qualified, but coming second was nowhere near as good for his score, so he didn't. Couldn't help feeling sorry for him after the way he climbed but I think Rubtsov is also very deserving of a place. If the Israeli guy had climbed before Sascha no-one would be complaining about the system, it would have just been a really exciting finish in which Sascha didn't quite make it.
That is a pretty good assessment. Most of the problems go back to the mis-match of having speed climbing in there in the first place and having a single (decent) climber who is totally out of his/her depth on 2 of the 3 comps. They are still likely to come between 4th to 6th based on their max score being 64 despite there being better climbers around them in the other events. It also means that you can have really brilliant climbers carrying a 6, 7 or 8 with them into the rounds they are good at. Of course that doesn’t matter if the best climber wins and in this case the worst you can say is one of the best two climbers won in both men’s and women’s.
My understanding is that this format will be dropped from future olympics so hopefully we will be rid of it and scoring between two events can be much less complicated.
To be fair, that other Russian (Lusz...?) was also a speed specialist I thought, yet he topped the lead route ahead of Will and managed a couple of boulders too. The Kazakh guy who qualified last year trains with Ondra. They are not all one-trick-ponies now.
I remember seeing footage of Russian? speed climbing comps from way back in the 70s/80s. Dark dingy walls (a bit like the early uk walls) where competitors rang a bell at the top of a route.
It seemed to be a common training passtime in the deepest darkest Russian winters and I assume it became rooted in its indoor climbing culture to such an extent that it made it into the IFSC when the comp structure began getting formalised.
A lot of british climbers seem to percieve speed as having no place in climbing or some kind of quirk. In fact many still have this view of bouldering! Had it been part of our climbing culture since the 70s I think that opinion may be slightly different. The Olympics forced the hand of the IFSC by making only one medal/gender available. I'm glad they made an inclusive decision even if for now we've ended up where we are.
Fortunately this looks to change in future and the event will get separated out.
Well done to Molly and Will for doing so well, its great to have more UK climbers at the cutting edge of the international comps. First event Ive watched most of the way through, good tension and competition throughout, even if the scoring system is a bit tricky.
And respect to Molly for her Black Lives Matter mask and videoclip intro. Cant have been easy being the only climber of colour in the whole event. I hope she is inspiring more young climbers to follow her example.
Sergei is an all rounder, his best none speed result was 14th in Boulder Euro Champs in Munich 2017. There was 75 men in that comp so that is a pretty good result.
I’m still getting used to climbing as a competition sport, but it was very entertaining. The speed discipline is a bit too removed from lead and bouldering and so it distorts the competition. It’s like having Olympic cycling track sprinters competing in the road race. Also the scoring system is ridiculous.
I think 3 separate competitions for 3 sets of medals would be best.
Another idea would be to have a mixed team competition.
So how many of these are speedsters?
Rishat and Aleksandra?
It was nice to see both Will and Molly at the Arco Rockmaster last year - and that's an invitation event!
Basically to win you need to be "not rubbish" at all 3 and excel in at least 1.
Excelling at 1 but being "rubbish" (relatively, obviously still pretty damn good in the overall scheme of things) at the other 2 means you end up 4th-6th - as you say.
If you are rubbish at 1 of the 3 then you have to excel in the other 2 to have any chance of winning.
Although I'm not into speed climbing, I do think having 3 elements makes it more interesting as a competition. Having a 2 element competition (lead & boulder) would bring it closer to climbing as we know it (as a recreational sport) but I think the actual competition would become more predictable; so some of the excitement would be lost.
Given the scores multiply, with any 7 or 8 in the final I think you needed a 1 in another to stand any realistic chance of winning. 7, 1,.2 gives a score of 14, turn that 1 into a 2 and you get 28. You need 3 other climbers each winning one event to get a combination of 28 or more on their two other events. Even someone without a win can beat 28 in a number of ways: 2,2,3 would be 12; and 2,2,4 would be 16; and 2,2,5 would be 20; and 2,2,6 would be 24; and 2,3,3 would be 18; and 2,3,4 would be 24; and 3,3,3 would be 27.
The problem with this scoring system with 8 climbers is the difference between a first and a second is so huge that winning one event is a massive advantage: it's designed that way to ensure one climber specialist of every discipline can make the final, and they are unlikely to come last (ie at least one speed climber).
I also thought Molly was very inspiring because of this. What was less inspiring was Matt Groom in the commentary responding to her black power fist:
'that graphic makes me laugh every time it comes up on screen. Is it meant to be the statue of liberty or something?'
I hope he apologises is all I'll say.
Ah, that is very disappointing. I thought that he just simply wasn't mentioning it (politics on bbc sport etc) but that shows a real lack of awareness. I would be fuming if I was in Molly's position.
In reply to wobrotson:
> I also thought Molly was very inspiring because of this. What was less inspiring was Matt Groom in the commentary responding to her black power fist:
> 'that graphic makes me laugh every time it comes up on screen. Is it meant to be the statue of liberty or something?'
> I hope he apologises is all I'll say.
Also Iuliia and Bassa
Personally I would love to see a combined event where Speed is replaced with a psicobloc-style onsight speed event. I think that would be nuts and great to watch.
- Iullia (world record holder)
Don't forget Tomoa basically qualifies as a speed climber and Miho made the speed finals in Villar in 2019. Yiling Song clocked 7.42 in Xiamen in 2019 which would have been the third fastest time in the Speed individual discipline in Moscow last week. Lot of speed in the Olympics.
What is interesting is that at the start of the process, I believe the general consensus was that Speed climbers would suffer in the combined format. If anything, they have done well at the expense of lead specialist climbers who are largely absent (Anak, Jain Kim etc).
Routesetting in these combined events is a whole other topic to the format itself and could be discussed at length on the Moscow event alone.
For anyone sceptical about speed climbing - have a listen to Eddie Fowke (The Circuit Climbing)'s episode of Jam Crack podcast. He goes into some of the history of speed climbing and its culture in eastern Europe and Asia and how it's actually the oldest form of climbing by quite a long way...really interesting stuff. Makes its inclusion in the three a little more clear, other than just that it's thrilling to watch for lay people.
> ... history of speed climbing and its culture in eastern Europe and Asia and how it's actually the oldest form of climbing by quite a long way...
I assume you mean "oldest form of *competition* climbing"? Otherwise I'd call BS. There's a big difference. Sorry, I haven't listened to the podcast - don't have the patience for them.