Slovenia's Janja Garnbret hits new heights with inaugural sport climbing gold

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Janja Garnbret of Team Slovenia  during the Sport Climbing Women's Combined Final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Janja Garnbret of Team Slovenia during the Sport Climbing Women's Combined Final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

The Slovenian ace finishes on five points to take gold, with Japanese climbers NONAKA Miho and NOGUCHI Akiyo winning silver and bronze. 

In the end, the best of the best rose to the top.

After finishing with two first places (boulder and lead) and a fifth-place finish in speed, Janja Garnbret set an impossible-to-match standard as she cruised to gold with five points. Her closest competitor, NONAKA Miho, came home second on 45 points.

Garnbret, widely considered to be the best sport climber in the world, lived up to her reputation. She now adds Olympic gold to the six world championship titles she owns - two in lead, two in bouldering and two combined.

There will be celebrations in Japan, as climbers from the host country took the second and third spots on the podium, with NOGUCHI Akiyo winning an impressive bronze.

But the Olympic title - the first-ever in women's sport climbing - belongs to Garnbret who was at her brilliant best throughout the entire competition.

After her historic win, Garnbret spoke passionately about what it means to become the Olympic champion.

"This is a huge honour, definitely," she said. "Sport climbing, the first time at the Olympics, and me being the Olympic champion… I could only dream about it, and now that I actually made it, it’s incredible.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself and I felt a lot of pressure from people around me saying that I was already the winner but I knew that it is not as easy as people think. So the fact that I made it, that I handled all of this, being focused all the time, I am very proud of how I handled this.

"This was by far the hardest competition in my entire career, because if I ever thought that I was feeling under pressure in other world cups…. the Olympics is something different."

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