With a new training program and tons of motivation, Natalie Grossman smashed her competition and won first place at the Pan American Games in Santiago. The 23-year-old US climber overcame her top competitor, climbing partner, and Boulder resident Brooke Raboutou, by 12 points and secured her spot at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
In bouldering, Natalie had a smooth ride earning 84.3 points by topping each of the first three problems, surpassing her main competitor Raboutou by 14.9 points.
Feeling super confident, Grossman had a “take no prisoners” mindset from the first problem she laid her hands on and went strong throughout the whole boulder round.
In the lead climbing section, things got pretty serious as Natalie had to climb after Raboutou, but she kept a positive mindset and steamrolled through the route, although she encountered some issues. Mid-route she almost fell after hitting her finger on a hold and getting it stuck, but she managed to recompose.
Grossman hit the 60-point mark on the headwall and attacked it with a smile on her face, earning 88.1 points. Brooke was really motivated and gave her best to overcome Natalie’s mark but unfortunately lost at the numbers game, earning silver with an overall score of 165.5 points compared to Natalie’s 172.4 score.
When asked about his opinion on the finals, US team Head Coach Josh Larson stated that it was a game dictated by the little things. The little mistakes were the ones that made a difference in these finals, and he knew that either climber could have won the gold medal. He also praised both girl’s climbing, giving a shoutout to Brooke’s determination and exceptional style.
With Natalia Grossman having a clear pass for Paris, Team USA is still expecting Brooke Raboutou to get her ticket by finishing in the top 10 overall across the two Inaugural Olympic Quaifiers happening in Budapest and Shanghai next spring.
Featured image: © Lena Drapella/IFSC