Olympian Tom O'Halloran's climb at Tokyo

The day after competing in a series of gravity defying challenges as Australia's first male Olympic climber Tom O'Halloran was feeling pragmatic.

"The brutality of competing is the most glorious and bitter thing," he posted on social media. "Some days you're on, others you're not. Although I'm disappointed with my final rank, I'm bloody proud of the effort."

But as his partner Amanda Watts put it so succinctly "he has laid the first tracks for others to follow".

Sport Climbing Olympian Tom O'Halloran may not have reached the finals in the Olympic debut event at Tokyo, but he will always be Australia's first man to be selected for the fiercesome challenge.

"I put everything onto the wall, even though there wasn't much there at the time. Before I stepped through the curtain for the first time yesterday, I closed my eyes and felt the whole experience and thought 'there's nowhere I'd rather be in the world'."

The Blackheath 29-year-old took to the challenges of speed, lead and bouldering like the Spiderman he is.

The gravity defying events had the world's 20 best climbers competing to run the fastest up a 15 metre vertical wall (basically equivalent to a four storey building), then tackling four devious boulder challenges that required upside down moves on 35 degree overhangs and then a final run up another 15 metre wall with challenges that also seemed near impossible. Add in the difficulty of 70 per cent humidity earlier in the day - hardly Blue Mountains climbing weather.

O'Halloran posted 7.34 seconds up the speed wall - the winner finished in just under six seconds. Then he struggled in the almost impossible bouldering puzzles. Competition has been a challenge for the Mountains man with COVID restrictions preventing him from travelling overseas for World Cup pre-Olympic events.

Two-and-a-half years ago the outdoor climber decided to "have a run at qualifying for the Olympics" and said he would "hold onto this Olympic experience forever". He's looking forward to relaxing and thinking about "rock projects".

Watching the Games was confusing for novices who tried to work out the algorithms for who would make it to the finals (it's the first event result multiplied by the second result and then the third); all while the competitors worked out the algorithms in their heads to work through the challenges.

The video commentary needed to catch-up with the action, instead of focusing on competitors who were chalking their hands or wiping down chalk from walls with brooms. There was a push on after the men's event for O'Halloran to step in with the commentary for the women's event and finals, to give it the laser focus and magic of an expert. The Gazette understands however current athletes are not allowed to commentate under IOC rules.

O'Halloran was in good company in his time in Tokyo - rooming with BMX gold medallist Logan Martin.

Like climbing, BMX is another sport Japan has introduced in the hopes of bringing a younger generation to the power of the Olympics. For Paris the sport is expected to be divided into two separate competitions making the need to be an all rounder and train for three very challenging disciplines a thing of the past. There will be a medal for speed and another one combined medal for lead and boulder.

O'Halloran's Instagram post the day after the finals [August 8] was full of accolades for his "rockstar" efforts. Australian mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape AM (who together with Greg Mortimer was the first Australian to reach the summit of Mount Everest) was one of many, applauding his tenacity. "Well done Tom an absolutely Herculean effort," Macartney-Snape said.

Alberto Gines Lopez from Spain won the inaugural men's sport climbing gold.

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