(I will be writing about my own climbing soon.)
I went to watch the Mens Lead Finals this afternoon. The climbing was at such a high level; but I found the audience to be just as, if not more, amazing. The AccorArena was sold out. There were even people scalping tickets outside the arena. For a climbing competition! That would never happen in the U.S. Climbing, in all its varieties, is a much more recognized and appreciated sport in Europe, as are climbers of all kinds. But I certainly was not expecting so much energy and noise!
A lot can be, and probably has been written about why sport climbing competitions like this do not attract such numbers in the States, and questions asked about why climbing, of all varieties, is less visible/appreciated/attractive in the U.S. Previously, I had asked a friend how much more do guides in Europe get paid versus guides in America. This led to my friend telling me that in Europe, Guiding as a profession is regarded just as well as any other profession; tailor, doctor, mechanic, white-collar jobs, etc. One reason for this is that for a long time, Europeans had/have to hire a guide to access mountains. Another one might be that climbing and guiding is so much more visible to the public, e.g. on television, non-climbing magazines, more competitions.
Anyway, I was able to watch some very very impressive performances by the finalists.
I really enjoyed watching Gautier Supper from France climb. He moved so elegantly. He eventually finished third.
Adam Ondra was the last finalist to climb.
The crowd went wild when he stuck a very difficult hold at the top and knew he was going to reach the top.
So that was a fun way to spend part of an afternoon. It felt weird to be sitting in the athletes section, dressed in jeans and a cardigan with a handbag. In some ways, I felt like the other non-paraclimbing athletes must be judging me. Maybe a few did, but it is likely that is just me projecting onto other people.