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Analysis of 2020 Olympic Bouldering – M2 Finals

Respected climbing coach, Udo Neumann, and myself are exploring different ways to analyze climbing movements. Here we looked into Tomoa Narasaki’s performance on the men’s second boulder of the 2020 Olympic climbing finals in Tokyo.

Watch the video below and see if you can pick up on the spatial and temporal aspects that we note in his attempts.

Attempt 1 (or 2/6): Successful attempt to the zone. As Tomoa grasps the dyno hold, he has an upright body where his spine and pelvis are aligned and move in-phase. This in-phase motion helps his hips to follow the rotation of his shoulders and not cause excess twisting motion (or torsion or torque) during his swing. His timing is optimal to utilize his momentum from the swing to simultaneously pull his body upward. Before reaching for the gaston move, he is facing the hold with his whole body (chest, hips, and head), and knees turned outward. This helps him to keep his center of mass close to the wall and both upper and lower body in a very stable position to make the move. He completes the arc of his momentum trajectory (or path) to secure the next hold, using the timing perfectly to his advantage.


Attempt 2 (or 3/6): Failed attempt to the zone. He again has an upright body posture with his spine and pelvis aligned and in-phase. Minimally rotating his shoulders, his trajectory of momentum is not towards the wall but more parallel with the wall. He keeps the spine and pelvis aligned until he reaches the top of the swing where his center of mass is far from the wall. This causes his left leg to naturally move inward, making a scissor-like motion with the legs and rotation of the pelvis (or hips) relative to the upper body. This motion is hard to control and make the gaston move stick.


Attempt 3 (or 6/6): Failed attempt to the zone. Here, his spine and pelvis are initially in-phase but quickly become out of phase due to less core stabilization (or control). His pelvis starts to twist (rotate) relative to the spine early in the swing after the dyno. This causes his left leg to swing backwards, starting a scissor-like motion of the legs. The left hip and knee are flexed at the top of the swing and initially the center of mass is not close to the wall. The legs move erratically to and from the wall which makes the move much harder to control through the upper body. The moves were less efficient but also naturally rushed to try and beat the clock.

Stay tuned for more upcoming climbing movement analysis!

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