Hello from Imst, Austria! I’m currently sitting in a very beautiful hotel with one of the most amazing and fun group of kids I’ve had the pleasure of working with in a very long time. I was chosen this year to attend the Youth World Championships with the Canadian Youth Nationals Team as a coach! I attended this event for 6 years between 2002 and 2007. My first World Cup was in Canteleu (sp?), France when I was 13 years old. It is such a distant memory, but I can still remember the excitement of being at such a prestigious event. Looking at the youngsters competing here for their very first time is such a treat.
We are one day away from the competition. Since meeting up with the team on August 21st, we have been having a blast. The kids were able to work through their jet lag by sweating and getting their pump on in the fantastic gym in Innsbruck. The climbing in Europe is a very different style, with longer routes, unfamiliar holds and route setting. The kids all did very well and were able to feel confident moving forward to the competition. Yesterday was a fantastic day. We went to an amazing water park called Area 47. With a deep water soloing wall, a giant tube jump, an air pad, water slides and floating trampoline, the kids were in paradise. It was a fantastic day and a great team builder. To top it all off, we organized a formal dinner, a tradition that was begun the previous year in Scotland. I have to say; we have a very good-looking team! These kids look amazing after you wipe away the chalk and sweat! (Not that they don’t look amazing with the chalk and sweat!)
Today is a day for the kids to prepare for the competition tomorrow. I can see the jitters beginning and am getting some myself! It’s going to be an overwhelming experience tomorrow, with some categories having up to 90 competitors! The wall is outdoors and we have been learning how to deal with the heat and humidity over the past few days in order to prepare. No matter what, I know it will be an amazing experience for each athlete.
I will be attempting to update this blog each day after the competition. There will also be a live feed available at www.ifsc.tv. The time difference for Calgary is 8 hours and for Vancouver is 9 hours. The first qualifier round will begin at 9am here in Imst. Check out the running order for each athlete at www.ifsc-climbing.org. Go under the link Calendar and click on the each category under the Youth World Championships event. It is here that you’ll be able to see results!
Let the games begin! Go Canada Go!