June 22, 2024

Langen is the perfect place for a pair of climbers from Canada

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from: Christian Dencher

Stable on a steep wall: Canada’s Madison Richardson (21), who lives in Langen, will take part in the World Cup in Prague this weekend. © Slobodan Miskovic

Madison Richardson and her husband, Zack, are professional sport climbers from Canada. However, they have been living in Langen since March for two reasons. Madison, who dreams of participating in the World Cup, says the location is perfect for her.

Offenbach – Anyone who, like Madison Richardson, regularly hangs on the wall like Spider-Man has to be decisive. It is important to plan the next step quickly. In private, the 21-year-old and her husband Zack (22) have recently been doing it at an amazing pace – and they finally end up in Langen. It’s the perfect place for the Canadian climbing duo, says Madison Richardson. But they didn’t find it right away.

Although Canada considers El Dorado to outdoor enthusiasts and thus to climbers as well, the indoor Olympic alternative isn’t as important there as it is in parts of Europe, explains the national team player, who is currently ranked No. 1 in her country. In terms of competition, climbing is rarely practiced there. Zac started doing it in 2008, Madison in 2011. Both of her parents run a climbing gym. But to train with the national team, we often cross the pond – to the Old Continent, where most of the World Cups are held. So the two professional sport climbers decided to leave their home country. But the schedule is spoiled.

“When the year started, the plan was to move to Germany to train there,” says the Ontario woman. “But an evening conversation ended with our engagement.” Flights were rebooked and the wedding was organized within a week. In the middle of February we went to “Germany” also because Madison Richardson (née Fisher) knew the language. “I went to a German school, but only until I was 10. So it’s a bit rusty,” she jokes.

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The couple ended up in Munich, booked a hotel room and wanted to look for an apartment in peace. But it turned out to be a fantasy – because of the prices and their visas, which were only valid for twelve months. If you come from a huge country like Canada, you have no problem broadening your search quite generously. This is how the Richardsons ended up in Langen: affordable rent and central location. Because there are many training opportunities in the vicinity, above all “Studio Bloc” in Pfungstadt. “This is the best climbing gym in the world,” praises Madison. In April, there was also a tournament for the Canadian national team, including the competition. The movie “Maddie” came in second place, taking home 1,500 euros in prize money.

However, if you want to make a living from sport climbing, you have to regularly finish at the top, especially in lucrative competitions like the World Cup. It will take place between April and June – with a total of seven stops. Last year, ninth place in Meiringen (Switzerland) was her best result. However, at that time, she did not have her full strength after breaking her ankle. Just a few weeks ago I finished 8th overall in Salt Lake City. Your goal is to reach the Final Best Six at least once. There are still three possibilities this season, next weekend in Prague. Zack Richardson will not be there. “He skipped a few competitions this year,” his wife explains. Instead he participated in some competitions in North America. Meanwhile, Madison has another big goal in mind: the World Championships on August 12 in Bern, Switzerland. A World Cup participant from Langen? That would be his thing.

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Written by Christian Doncher

Rock, speed and lead climb

Sport climbing has been practiced competitively on a larger scale since the 1980s. It is a type of free climbing, that is, without climbing aids, but – depending on the height – with safety equipment. There are three disciplines: In lead climbing, athletes have to master challenging routes (about 15 to 20 meters) within a six-minute time period, without losing any of the intermediate lag. Four to six three or four meter challenges to be solved while rock climbing. The athletes have two to three hours to do this and can watch each other. The fewer attempts, the better. In fast climbing, a particular route must be climbed as fast as possible. Sport climbing has been Olympian since 2021. In 2024 in Paris, bouldering and lead climbing will be combined separately from speed. (CD)