They day began early for Kylie Cullen (USA) since she and her dad, Brian, wanted to take watch the professionals in their attempt to qualify for the adidas ROCKSTARS Semifinal. The two - still slightly jet-lagged - Americans wanted to see just how the pros would handle the problems which the young climber would need to solve later in the afternoon.
Of course first there was breakfast at the buffet in the Hilton Garden Inn but from 9:30 until 12:30 they were glued to their seats, soaking in the twists and turns of the dozens of world-class climbers working their way up the eight routes created by the world-famous Route Setter, Laurent Laporte.
The 15-year-old Los Angeles native seems to be incredibly tough and mentally strong but every now and then there peeks through a little bit of the emotions you would expect to see from a teenager who is competing on an international stage.
“I feel good and really excited” she said with a shy smile. “It’s been helpful to be able to watch these great climbers solve the problems. I haven’t really followed just one particular climber but I’ve just tried to get little physical tips by watching all of them.”
“I have to say, that besides the competition, my favorite part of the event has been the Athlete Zone. It’s incredible. I’ve really never seen anything like it!”
She had to wait some time before she finally got her chance to attack the boulders at the Ticket to Rockstars Final presented by GORE-TEX but as the hours ticked on, she remained focused - and of course took advantage of the Athlete Zone.
The up-and-coming boulderer earned her way into this international competition thanks to her win at the Ticket to Rockstars event in L.A earlier this year. She also just beat adidas ROCKSTAR 2017, Alex Puccio, in the final of the “Women Up” climbing competition and knows that she has the chance to come in to Stuttgart as a relatively unknown entity and shock the world of bouldering. In other words, a little pressure doesn’t phase Kylie Cullen.
The worst case scenario coming out of this experience for Kylie is that she will not move on to the final rounds of the tournament and that she has only gotten to spend time with her dad, see the sites in Germany, do her homework from a hotel room and compete her way into the semi-final of an international event. Best case of course is that she climbs out of her mind on Saturday and is crowned as the adidas ROCKSTAR 2019.
No matter the outcome, her approach will remain the same: Have fun, and give it her best shot.
Best of luck to Kylie and all of the 52 climbers who will need their hearts just as much as their arms if they are to be known forever as the 2019 adidas ROCKSTARS.
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