Sports 12/08/2021

Alberto Ginés: "I like lead climbing because you fall when you're too tired to go on"

We have rescued this 2020 interview with the Olympic climbing gold medalist

4 min
Alberto Ginés, climber

BarcelonaHe will turn 18 in October but he is already one of the best climbers in Spain. Before the state of alarm he left the Sant Cugat (where elite athletes train) to spend lockdown with his family. The sport routine has been keeping him away from home for two seasons. If it wasn't for the coronavirus, now he would be competing in China and looking forward to the Tokio Games.

How did you feel about the Games being postponed for a year?

I really wanted to compete this year, like everyone else, but the fact that the Games won't take place is the right decision. In fact, for me it's even positive, I'll have more time to prepare and gain experience, which is what I'm still missing.

You had some nervous weeks, didn't you?

Yes, it was strange, because we could already see that the most logical thing would be to postpone it, but nobody said anything. The IOC didn't confirm that it would be cancelled and we were all waiting, not knowing what to do.

You left the CAR and now you are at home, how are you coping with the new routine?

When we saw that everything was getting complicated I came to Cáceres to be at home with my family so that I wouldn't get caught up in everything halfway. And of course, it's all very different from what I'm used to do during the year. I should be in China competing, now, and it's hard for me to stop. We are doing a lot of competitions and a lot of travelling. In part, however, it's also nice to spend a few days with the family. The last time I came here was for Christmas, and not for so long.

You've been away since 2018. You left home when you were 16. It must be hard, right?

Yes, it's been hard for me to be away from my family. My parents have taken advantage of the bank holidays to come and see me so we could be together, but I wasn't used to seeing them so little. I'm quite a family person and it's been hard for me. Leaving home helps you to be more independent and to manage things on your own, but it's hard. When I need to go to Cáceres I talk to my coach and he gives me a few days.

Wow, that's great!

Yes, we've been working together for seven years now and we trust each other. He knows when I need a break and when I might be fooling him.

And you fool him a lot?

[Laughs]. No, I don't. When I ask him for it, it's because I need it.

What has it meant for climbers that your sport has become an Olympic sport?

It has meant a very important growth. In infrastructures and in promotion. You go to a climbing wall and it's full all the time. I've been climbing competitively since I was 14 years old, before that I used to do it with friends and in the countryside.

Alberto Ginés, in action

It runs in the family, this climbing thing.

Yes, it comes from my father, when I was 3 years old he took me to a climbing wall and I ended up getting hooked. It's a very fun sport, most people who try it repeat. It's addictive, you want to try it again. I've taken some friends from the CAR to train with me and they want to come back. In the end, a climbing wall is like a gym but in a social version. Instead of being alone with the weights, you get to do the same boulder or a route with friends.

How are you doing it at home, do you have space to train?

I have equipment to do physical training, but I don't have any climbing equipment. I'm trying to stay in shape, hoping that everything will return to a certain normality. We'll see.

What was the goal for the Games and what will it be for 2021?

We were aiming for a diploma, but now it will depend on how I evolve. We'll see if I improve a lot or a little, but I think we'll go back to the goal of being in the top eight.

Which discipline do you like the most?

All three disciplines have their special part. The one I've always practiced is the lead one, which I like a lot and, although it's perhaps not as dynamic as boulder or as spectacular as speed, I like it because you fall when you can't go any further. And this hooks me. The speed test is very spectacular, you see climbers climbing the 15 meters of wall in 5 seconds. I've been doing this more seriously for two years now and my best time is 7.12. Let's see if they will build more speed spaces. They had some projects planned that I hope they will keep going after all.

How do you train?

In the CAR we do physical training and then we move around the climbing walls. I go to the one in Hospitalet a lot.

An Olympic athlete mixed in the crowd.

Yes, it's fun. Maybe sometimes someone gets angry at you because you're on the same boulder for a long time.

Trying to get out of the point where you're falling and falling.

In climbing, in a second you can go from winning to falling and being last. This adrenaline gets me really hooked. I've always been moved by motivation, I was doing gymnastics for a while but in the end I liked this more. It challenges me. It's hard to stay with the same thing for so long. The seasons are long and it's mentally tiring.