One week ago today, record-breaking Slovenian climber Janja Garnbret won Olympic Sport Climbing's first ever women's Gold medal, dominating the Boulder and Lead final and setting a new Speed PB. Few would have bet against her, but to win so convincingly with the weight of expectation on her shoulders proved that Garnbret truly is a top-class athlete in a league of her own.
Garnbret won back-to-back World Championships in Boulder and Combined in 2018 and 2019, and also reclaimed the Lead title in 2019. She's the only athlete to have won a clean-sweep of all six Bouldering World Cup events in a season (2019) - in which she also topped qualification and semi-final rounds, completing 74/78 of the boulders put in front of her - and has won eight World Cup overall titles (across Lead, Boulder and Combined).
In 2019, Garnbret won the triple of Lead, Boulder and Combined at the IFSC World Championships in Hachioji, where she deservedly earned her #1 seed ranking for the Tokyo Games. In 2021, she broke another record, winning her eighth Boulder World Cup in a row – the most consecutive victories ever in IFSC World Cup events.
Add to all this her historic Olympic Gold, and you could argue that Garnbret has more or less completed competition climbing. But at 22 and with plenty more competitions to win, she's really only just getting started.
Reel Rock released a short video this week profiling Garnbret and her phenomenal rise to the top, adapted from their feature film Janja Garnbret - The Perfect Season, now playing as part of their Reel Rock 15 film selection.
Watch our video recorded at the women's Sport Climbing press conference following the event in Tokyo last week. Thanks to Mutsuki Ueda for providing English subtitles for the Japanese athletes' comments.
To learn more about how Garnbret's exceptional, gibbon-like movement skills enable her to succeed, read this WIRED piece featuring input from elite climbing coach and sports scientist Udo Neumann.