Grupper Off to Paris 2024

SANTIAGO, Chile (Oct. 23, 2023) – USA Climbing athlete Jesse Grupper (Upper Montclair, NJ) came from behind with a stunning performance on the lead wall to lead a USA medals sweep in men’s boulder and lead. Sean Bailey (Shoreline, WA) won silver with Zach Galla (Atlanta, GA) taking bronze. With his victory, Grupper claimed the coveted last USA spot in men’s boulder and lead for Paris 2024, joining teammate Colin Duffy (Broomfield, CO) who earned his ticket at World Championships in August.

“It feels really unreal,” said Grupper. “This has been a dream since I was a kid watching the Olympics on my home TV. I just really, for so long, have seen this as a dream. So I’m so glad to be able to pull it out in this competition and make it happen.”

“I’m happy for all the dudes,” said Head Coach Josh Larson. “Everyone climbed so good tonight! The boys climbed really well. I’m happy for them.”

While Grupper had a strong personal performance in bouldering, he stood fourth, 15 points back, going into lead climbing. Canadian Sean McColl and Bailey held a slim lead of just a tenth of a point over Galla.

“I knew that I was a bit behind from the bouldering round,” he said. “I knew that I had to fight really hard in the second round in order to do the best that I could. So I really focused on that overall.”

Despite the 15-point deficit he had to overcome from bouldering, and the fact that his teammate Bailey had climbed into the lead, Grupper came into his final route with confidence.

“His specialty is lead,” said Larson, who spoke with Grupper between rounds to remind him. “So he was able to lean into that to make up points. He really had to leave the boulders behind. He started to think about them a little too much. And then he eventually just flipped the switch and went into lead mode, warmed up for lead, read the lead route and wasn’t too critical about the boulders. And he was able to come out like Jesse always does and impressed the hell out of everybody on the lead route.”

With a smile on his face, Grupper charged up the wall with a gritty performance. He attacked the route with a skillful and purposeful climb, all the while picking up valuable points that ultimately erased the 15-point deficit and left him with a near 20-point margin of victory.

Grupper had the crowd solidly behind him as he crested over to the headwall at the top of the wall. “The crowd was incredible here,” he said. “I really felt the support and I felt like every move really counted up there. I really wanted to get to the top of that wall.”

Sport climbing’s Pan Am Games debut will wrap up Tuesday night with the women’s boulder and lead final. Going into the round for USA Climbing will be Natalia Grossman (Boulder, CO), Brooke Raboutou (Boulder, CO) and Anastasia Sanders (Fort Worth, TX). Bouldering begins at 5:00 p.m. EDT followed by lead climbing at 7:00 p.m. EDT. It will be streamed live on the PANAM Sports Channel and mobile app.

Oct. 23, 2023

1. Jesse Grupper (Upper Montclair, NJ) 161.5 (69.4, 92.1)
2. Sean Bailey (Shoreline, WA) 141.6 (84.5, 57.1)
3. Zach Galla (Atlanta, GA) 138.5 (84.4, 54.1)
4. Sean McColl, Canada 132.6 (84.5, 48.1)
5. Oscar Baudrand, Canada 87.4 (69.3, 18.1)

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