|IFSC World Cup||Wins||Podiums|
Akiyo Noguchi (JPN) Age: 31
With four World Cup overall titles and six 2nd place finishes, a strong case could be made for Akiyo Noguchi being the greatest competition boulderer of all time. The statistics don’t even tell the whole story - she’s claimed those 10 (TEN!) top-2 season finishes not by being stronger than virtually everyone else, but simply by being better. Noguchi’s movement is unique and her ability to understand and adapt to a Boulder is unsurpassed. She’s also got exceptional mobility and is able to execute moves that would be physically impossible for other climbers, even if they were able to figure them out. She’s not bad on a Lead wall either and has picked up nine Lead World Cup medals, and a bronze in the discipline at the 2005 (!) World Championships.
Noguchi had a long rivalry with Austrian legend Anna Stöhr, then went through a few years with Shauna Coxsey (GBR) as her main rival, and now finds herself trying to deal with the phenomenon that is Janja Garnbret (SLO). The faces around her have changed since she and Stöhr were battling it out for the 2008 overall season title, but Noguchi just keeps on going, seemingly ageless and rarely injured. She’ll have to retire one day - presumably - but for now she continues to evolve and improve with every season and it seems inevitable that she will add to her 58 World Cup medals in the coming years.
Hachioji World Championships: 2nd Place
One of Noguchi’s perceived “weak points” (we use the term lightly) was that she didn’t climb well on home soil, due to the extra pressure that came with being the local hero. Noguchi blew that theory out of the water in Hachioji, picking up silver in Boulder and then silver in Combined as well. Were it not for falling on the very last move of the Combined Lead route, it would have been her taking the top spot ahead of Janja Garnbret. Either way, Noguchi cruised, at the first time of asking, into an Olympic slot.
Noguchi’s first experience of climbing came on a family holiday to Guam - an American island in the Western Pacific.
The podium, but not the top step.