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Adidas Rockstars - International Bouldering Comp

© Elias Holzknecht
Last weekend Stuttgart in Germany played host to a large international bouldering competition, the adidas Rockstars.

The competition, won by Alex Puccio and Sean McColl, was set on a huge stage, with a live band, and a large prize on offer. There was €20,000 up for grabs, shared between the finalists.

There was a strong showing from the Brits, and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk made the finals, coming in 6th place.

British results:

  • Dave Barrans 10th
  • Stew Watson 14th
  • Gaz Parry 26th
  • Mina Leslie-Wujastyk 6th
  • Diane Merrick 19th

Alex Puccio on top of the super final boulder, adidas Rockstars, Stuttgart  © Christian Pfanzelt
Alex Puccio on top of the super final boulder, adidas Rockstars, Stuttgart
© Christian Pfanzelt


Here's the report from the adidas Rockstars Media Team:

In a thrilling final, which could hardly be outgunned in terms of drama, Alex Puccio from the USA and Sean McColl from Canada claimed the highly paid title adidas ROCKSTAR 2012 this weekend. Around 70 of the world's best bouldering athletes from 20 different countries travelled to Stuttgart, Germany, to experience a top-class bouldering competition. On a giant stage with catwalk and live band the pro climbers felt like rock stars. And that's exactly the objective of the event, which combines rock climbing with rock music to stage an intoxicating sports show.

Especially the twelve finalists who had successfully made their way through qualification and semis, could enjoy the extra boost of adrenaline and excitement during the solemnly athlete presentation on a long catwalk, which opened the final.

Heated up by Swiss rock band Sideburn, the top 6 men and women started into a thrilling battle on artificial rock, during which Canadian Sean McColl proved that he deserved his allotted start number 1. After placing fourth in the qualification and winning the semi final, Sean also dominated the final flashing every single boulder.

Alex Puccio climbing to victory at the 2012 adidas Rockstars
© Elias Holzknecht

At first it seemed as if the route setters went easy on the climbers after the tough semi final in the afternoon, in which Sean McColl, Alex Puccio and Akiyo Noguchi from Japan were the only athletes who could top all four boulders. Everyone easily solved boulder 1 in the first or second attempt clocking under two minutes. Sean McColl only needed 24 seconds for his flash.

Then the crowd saw ten of the twelve finalists flash boulder number 2. Norwegian climber Therese Johansen and Jeremy Bonder from France were the only ones who needed more than one attempt to solve the problem, which put Therese Johansen, Austria's Katharina Saurwein and Akiyo Noguchi all on third place with an even score. Since the adidas ROCKSTARS format stipulates that the top 3 finalists advance to the next round, the competition jury had to make the call and decided in favour of the athletes. All five girls got the chance to give their best effort on boulder number 3. In the men's category the result was clear: Sean McColl, Jon Cardwell from the United States and Guillaume Glairon-Mondet from France qualified for the next round.

Akiyo Noguchi was the first to try boulder 3. Flash! Although the tiny Japanese seemed to climb the boulder effortlessly, it soon turned out that it wasn't that easy. Neither Therese Johansen nor Katharina Saurwein were able to top it. And even American powerhouse Alex Puccio had to surrender, after she had almost reached the top hold and slipped off. Now the doors to the super final were wide open for Juliane Wurm. The five-time German Champion and silver medallist of the European Championship was on 5th place after the semi final. But after a long and tough competition day she had no more power to solve the problem. Thus the first super final fixture was set: Akiyo Noguchi versus last year's runner-up Alex Puccio.

Sean McColl taking first place at the adidas Rockstars 2012
© Elias Holzknecht

"I'm really happy with my 3rd place. The first two boulders were ok, but the last one was very hard and my shape was just not good enough, so there was nothing more I could do", Jule Wurm explained afterwards. „The athlete lounge has even improved compared to last year and the crowd watching us is bigger, which is so cool. You feel like a real rock star when you're out there on stage; especially the live music distinguishes adidas ROCKSTARS from any other competition."

Now it was the men's turn to create some extra excitement. All three flashed the third boulder problem. Once again the competition jury got together and decided to do a tiebreak on a forth boulder. While the route setters quickly built a new problem, human beatboxers Camero and Robeat entertained the crowds in the Porsche-Arena with a mind-blowing show-battle.

Although set under pressure, tiebreak boulder 4 turned out to be the master piece of Reini Fichtinger and his team as it separated the wheat from the chaff. After Guillaume Glairon-Mondet had failed and Jon Cardwell had at least reached the bonus hold, Sean McColl demonstrated impressively, how you can flash a boulder that first seems impossible to climb. It was his ticket to the super final, together with runner-up Jon Cardwell.

In the super final both athletes had to climb simultaneously an identical route on a dual boulder without seeing each other. In the women's category, Alex Puccio built on her experience from the inaugural event when Anna Stöhr was already half way up while she was still studying the route. "This was my second year climbing the super boulder and I learned from my mistakes; last year I was a bit slow as I actually looked at the boulder problem before I got on it. As I had that in mind I decided that if I get to the super final this year l will not look - I will just go onto the boulder!" The six times American Champion only needed 25 seconds to climb on top and hit the buzzer.

"adidas ROCKSTARS is such an amazing event", Puccio raved after the award ceremony. "I'm really excited for the third edition of it as it just keeps on getting better and better every year. It's already an amazing competition and I would love to be back. Why should you do this event? Because you have the time of your life; it's exciting, thrilling and you will not want to leave!"

The finalists on stage in Stuttgart, adidas Rockstars, 2012
© Christian Pfanzelt

With a perfect dyno at first attempt and his fifth flash in the final Sean McColl secured his adidas ROCKSTARS victory a few minutes later. His bib number literally matched his performance, as he was truly the number one athlete of the competition.

"The super boulder was really fun even though it wasn't the hardest boulder in the final", he said afterward. „To tell you the truth we're all really good friends and I didn't really care if I would win or not today. The format of the competition is similar to other competitions; the final round is what really stands out and makes it so cool. When I have dreams about perfect competitions it's very similar to adidas ROCKSTARS; the athletes lounge, all the security, a huge arena, phenomenal competition and organization - as you can imagine I had a great weekend!"

Jon Cardwell was also stoked, not only about the 20,000 Euro prize purse that was issued among the finalists. "adidas ROCKSTARS is really special, unlike any other event that I have ever been to for climbing, it's such a nice space for us back at the athlete lounge and the atmosphere is very friendly, the walls are great - I'm just really impressed."

Mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner, who came specifically to Stuttgart to watch the event, was taken with the concept and the achievements of the bouldering athletes. "This is a fantastic event and it is hosted in the right place, in the centre of a major city, accessible to everyone and environmentally justifiable. What I like about bouldering is that in addition to strength, creativity and speed you need savvy, as you always have to chose the right route."

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15 Aug, 2012
15 Aug, 2012
In Denmark we have for some time had emotional discussions on web fora about which type of climbing is REAL climbing. And that all other types of climbing than the one that the topic holder likes are shit...! Then comes along Reinhold and says: "This is a fantastic event and it is hosted in the right place, in the centre of a major city, accessible to everyone and environmentally justifiable. What I like about bouldering is that in addition to strength, creativity and speed you need savvy, as you always have to chose the right route." Warms my heart! Makes us remember that one of the many brilliant things about climbing is it's diversity! And that all the subgames have so much in common!!
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