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Molly Thompson-Smith on Covid struggles, online quizzes, and dealing with poverty in Tokyo |  News News


Molly Thompson-Smith opens up about her mental battles during the lockdown and the pain and pride of becoming the first British woman to win a European climbing medal

Last updated: 12/31/20 6:48 pm

Molly Thompson-Smith fights after happy but heartbreaking European Championship in Moscow

“It was supposed to be a huge year for the sport, with the long awaited Tokyo Olympics. It was also going to be a year that really counted in my own career.

“Rock climbing was to make its debut in Tokyo and I was willing to give my all to be there. Instead, it was Zoom ‘publicity quizzes’ and virtual birthdays!”

The words of the climber Molly Thompson-Smith who describes 2020 as an “incredibly eventful and at the same time uneventful” year.

the Sky Sports Researcher opens with a year of madness and how time allowed him to reflect proudly on his efforts at the European Championships despite having missed the Olympic Games horribly …


“My last chance to qualify was set for March at the European Championships. Like many others, when the coronavirus first appeared on European radars, I wasn’t too worried. I was sure it was. would be a transient illness.

How wrong. When I heard that the Europeans had been postponed, I had a secret joy. The finger I had surgery on a few years ago had been a big problem for me during winter training and I had rushed to regain a “good” level of fitness for this event.

Molly Thompson-Smith on Covid struggles, online quizzes, and dealing with poverty in Tokyo |  News News

Molly Thompson-Smith on Covid struggles, online quizzes, and dealing with poverty in Tokyo |  News News 1:22
Molly Thompson-Smith became the first British woman to win a European climbing medal

Molly Thompson-Smith became the first British woman to win a European climbing medal

This postponement meant more preparation. I was motivated rather than disappointed. In the end, I was in good health rather than healing an injury – I felt more positive than deflated.

I can say that this year has been good overall, but more difficult than I expected when I got the news of the postponement.

Athletes have this super skill of being incredibly focused and determined during times when they need to be. The low season is also where we can really take relaxation to a new level and completely ‘switch off’.

Personally, one of the hardest moments of this year has been the lack of a clear on-and-off period. I spent the first half of the year training with optimism, ready for the championship on the new date, then its next new date etc.

And then the situation in Europe really got worse and the idea of ​​having a season at all this year was more of a dream than a reality. I turned to the rocks where motivation was easier to hold back, and I could show myself that the hard work I was doing in the gym was going nowhere.

I’ve always thought that rock climbing wasn’t as useful to my climbing competition as indoor climbing, but this year I found that there are more benefits to including escalation in my competition preparations than I expected.

It has done wonders for my head, for my sanity, and for improving my decision making and staying calm under pressure. It gave me direction in a fairly directionless year.

Then came the news that the European Championships would be held in November, or not at all.

It was a tough pill to swallow. Looking at Europe, and especially Russia, it was almost stupid to believe that the event would unfold. All my aspirations for Olympic qualification could disappear without even having a chance to fight for it.

I stayed positive and trained hard, hoping that my efforts and positivity would somehow be rewarded. I left my partner in Germany and traveled to a ‘locked’ Sheffield to train last month before the event with my teammate Will Bosi who is also said to be the only other Briton in Moscow.

I really enjoyed the build and found the lockdown gave me a focus that I hadn’t had before – I really had nothing else to do but engage in this dream. No distractions at all.

It still didn’t feel real to me until my first day in the arena.

It took me a few turns to find my comp head. It had been over a year since my last international outing. And although each day brings more pressure and consequences to this one big goal, I have found myself enjoying it more and more. This is what I had been waiting for all year.

Finally, the championship races were over and I was delighted with a bronze medal in my favorite discipline (head). But I still focused on the handset.

Molly Thompson-Smith on Covid struggles, online quizzes, and dealing with poverty in Tokyo |  News News

Molly overcame major finger surgery three years ago to return to the international stage

I made my way through the combined qualifying and made it through on the last day. I was beaten – my skin was bleeding, muscles sore, and my mind was tired. But it was one more day and I wanted to give it my all.

Sadly, I just didn’t have it that last day. And a few weeks later, I’m now pretty much okay with that. I did my best and I did my best and it was not enough.

After my few days of disappointment, I was able to sit down and reflect on what happened and here is the summary….

This year we had a pretty crazy pandemic. I still spent the year training with limited facilities for an event that miraculously unfolded. I flew to Russia and competed, giving my all every day.

I came home with a bronze medal and got closer to the Olympic qualification I dreamed of.

So was the year perfect or how I expected it to go? Not at all. Am I proud of myself and hopeful for the future? Totally.





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