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Climbing rookie Seo Chae-hyun prepares for Olympics

Posted May. 30, 2020 08:24,   

Updated May. 30, 2020 08:24


The following would be written in the school record of climbing prodigy Seo Chae-hyun: Dream: Climbing, Forte: Climbing, Hobby: Climbing and sometimes coloring. Seo has been spending most of her time at a climbing gym her dad runs while almost all sports leagues around the world are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a day of intense training, the 17-year-old enjoys easy rock climbing for fun. Seo has never missed a day at the gym although she takes a day off after two days of training. She shows up at the gym even on her day off and has a chit chat with other climbers. The only calm hobby she has is to color coloring books featuring Anne of Green Gables. It makes one wonder if she feels more comfortable hanging on the bouldering wall rather than standing on the ground.

The bouldering walls Seo has been climbing since she was six are now her window to the world. She claimed No.1 on the world rankings last year after winning the IFSC Lead World Cup for four consecutive years. She eventually earned her spot for the Tokyo Olympics in March.

The Sports Climbing has been approved for the Tokyo Olympic Games for the first time. A total of two golds are up for grabs for men’s and women’s sports climbing. Among three separate climbing events - lead, bouldering, and speed -, Seo specializes in lead. She has been focusing on improving her records from 10 mark to eight mark. “I’m glad I’ve gotten more time to practice since speed climbing is a discipline, where you shorten the records through repetitive training,” said Seo.

Seo is planning to challenge some outdoor climbing after the Olympics. She is training hard at the gym as always, imagining the feeling of cold rocks in her hands and the cold breeze from the valley.