Ginés and Duffy: Tokyo-bound climbing prodigies interview each other

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 06: Participants compete in the Bouldering discipline during the Sports Climbing Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event at the Aomi Urban Sports Park on March 06, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The event was restricted to local climbers only due to over the ongoing global COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 06: Participants compete in the Bouldering discipline during the Sports Climbing Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event at the Aomi Urban Sports Park on March 06, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The event was restricted to local climbers only due to over the ongoing global COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

They achieved the same thing: Olympic qualification. They have the same dream: Glory in Tokyo. They've also competed against each other on several occasions. But now 17-year-old Alberto Ginés (ESP) and 16-year-old Colin Duffy (USA) – the youngest sport climbers to have qualified for Tokyo 2020 – will get to know even more about each other, after taking over interviewing duties for Tokyo2020.org.

Colin Duffy takes part in the IFSC Pan-American Championships
Colin Duffy takes part in the IFSC Pan-American Championships
IFSC – Daniel Gajda

Ginés interviewing Duffy

Alberto Ginés: What do the Olympic Games represent to you?

Colin Duffy: It’s a chance for me to represent my country for the first time on the big stage and really try to set an example for my sport in the future. I’d say the biggest part is just getting to be a part of climbing in its first Olympics and to represent my country.

A.G.: When did the Olympics become an objective for you?

C.D.: It really hadn’t become a big objective until the start of 2020. Last year I didn’t really get the chance to do many qualifying events, I didn’t have the opportunities to go to them. So this January when we had the U.S. national combined competition that would qualify people for the Pan Americans, that’s when I really realised that it was a possibility. But it seemed pretty far-fetched… it seemed possible but it wasn’t really the big goal until after that competition when I had qualified for the Pan Americans. So just the start of this year it really became the objective.

A.G.: How would you define yourself as a competitor?

C.D.: I’d say as a competitor I have a really strong mental game. It’s very rare that I have a bad performance in competitions. I’d say that’s my most defining characteristic. Whenever I’m competing with someone I’m always going to give it my best shot and I’m always there to put some pressure on people.

A.G.: What has been the most special competition you've been involved with?

C.D.: The Pan Americans for sure. It was really my first big, international adult event and the crowd in Los Angeles was great. It was a super long competition, so just getting to spend the week in Los Angeles and prepare for the competition was just magical. And the final, how it all played out, was super special and will always stand out in my mind as the most important competition day.

I guess another answer to that question is my first youth world championships. A couple of years ago in 2017 that was my first big event in Innsbruck, Austria, and I managed to win, as a really young competitor in my category. That was such a weird comp, because I had absolutely no idea how strong the other kids around the world were, how prepared I was. So just to go and win was another great moment of my climbing career.

A.G.: Define me in one word

C.D.: Fierce, I guess. He's a super amazing competitor and has that winning attitude.

Duffy interviewing Ginés

Colin Duffy: What was your first memory of climbing?

A.G.: The first day that I tried the sport. I was three years old when my dad took me to a climbing wall.

C.D.: How would you describe your first world cup experience?

A.G.: It was really special because my expectations were very low. My team mates made me a little bit scared. They told me that it was almost impossible to be competitive there. But finally it was a really good competition for me. I ended up in 7th place, despite the fact that it was one of the competitions in which I've been most nervous. I remember that when I was having breakfast the morning of the event, my hands were shaking. I couldn't even eat my cereal! In the end, it was a quite cool experience.

C.D.: What are you looking forward to most at the Olympics?

A.G.: I am very curious to see what they (the Olympics) are like from the inside. My mates in the CAR (High Performance Centre, from the Spanish Centro de Alto Rendimiento) have told me what the Games are like, but I cannot even imagine it. I'd rather not expect too much, so I'm not disappointed. But I don't think so. I expect from them a lot of sportsmanship and a family atmosphere. That's how they have described the Games.

C.D.: How would you describe me in one word?

A.G.: I need more than one word (he laughs): Colin is a really good competitor. That's what defines him the best, at least as far as I know.