Meet the First-Ever American Climber to Qualify For the Olympics - and Watch Her in Action

Brooke Raboutou, 18, has said in the past that she started climbing by the time she could walk, and footage of her on the rocks shows how flexible she is, how fast she can go, and how much grip strength her fearless fingers have. For lack of a better word, she’s a natural. Over the weekend at the IFSC Combined World Championships in Hachioji, Japan, the Boulder, CO, native became the first American to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in sport climbing.

“When I’m on a high rock, I feel I’m in control and just happy,” Brooke told THNKR back in 2013. The challenge of it all excites her. At the time, she was just 11 years old and setting records worldwide. According to one of her coaches, Garrett Gregor, she was the first 9-year-old to climb V-10 and the first 10-year-old to climb V-11, which are pro-level bouldering grades. Brooke was the first 10-year-old to do a 514.a climbing grade and the first 11-year-old to do a 514.b climbing grade (for the latter, she was the youngest person in the world to climb that grade).

Brooke is the 2018 lead youth world champion for 17- and 18-year-olds, 2017 combined youth (17-18) Pan American champion, and 2016 combined youth world champion for 15- to 16-year-olds, teamusa.org reported. In March, she was named to the first-ever US overall national team.

Brooke’s mom, Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou, was actually a world champion climber, winning four consecutive World Cup titles. She’s a five-time US champion as well. Brooke’s dad, Didier Raboutou, was also a world champion climber, and Shawn, Brooke’s older brother, has seen success as a seasoned climber.

This is the first time sport climbing will be featured in an Olympic Games. There will be three disciplines – lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering – and each nation is allowed two athletes per gender. Each competitor’s scores in the three disciplines will be combined to determine the final rankings. “In a few days I should get a letter with my ticket to the 2020 Olympics!” Brooke wrote on Instagram. Ahead, check out this superstar in action.

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