I’ll never forget the day I conquered “Silence”, a challenging climb inside of a cave in Norway. The climb, one of the hardest in the world, represented the culmination of years of preparation and focus. As I ascended the last few feet and dropped back down I was relieved and overwhelmed. It was a massive moment for me in my climbing career, one that I had been pushing myself to accomplish for years. It also brought into focus some of what I deal with each time I prepare for a new climb or competition. I have built a strong foundation based on my past successes, and use past failures to learn and grow.
Some have called me a “prodigy” and “gifted”, both incredible compliments that I appreciate and take to heart. It’s true that climbing has always come naturally to me. I was introduced to the sport by my loving parents, who were both avid climbers, at just 6 years old growing up in the Czech Republic. I began competing at age 11 and enjoyed success early on, but I know that talent will only get you so far. It takes a strong will and dedication to learn and improve. I am motivated by the challenge of achieving something most people consider 'impossible'. I love exploring difficult terrains and placing myself in uncomfortable situations which force me to push past my limits and grow. Mastery involves a lot of testing and failure, and despite my early successes, I've had to become comfortable with facing obstacles. I’m currently training for my latest goal: winning gold at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo - and it might be my hardest challenge yet!
My Olympic goals are rooted in mastering yet another new skill: speed climbing. The version of climbing that is debuting in Tokyo represents a highly technical and specific skill set, one that’s primarily based around speeding up a specific set route, like memorizing a speech. Because this style is vastly different from the climbing I’ve practiced my whole life, I’ve had to re-focus and develop a new training routine built around its unique requirements. Many people don’t appreciate how difficult the road to qualifying has been for me. Despite multiple setbacks and some close calls, I accomplished my goal and qualified for the Olympics. After each setback I stepped back, refocused, and dedicated myself to facing the challenge head-on; eventually growing to love them. Then, just as I was nearing final preparation, the Games were postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than focus on the negative I’m using this additional time to continue to refine my skills and sharpen my focus going into the Games. After the success I’ve experienced, the outside world has put a lot of expectations on me, but at the end of the day I strive to remain focused on what I expect from myself: dedication to achieving mastery in my craft.
The opportunity to prepare in ways I never have before is also motivating me to look at methods of training and recovery that I hadn’t previously considered. In addition to the specific demands of speed climbing training, I’m adopting new recovery methods like acupuncture, varied massage therapies, and using full-spectrum CBD supplements. I’m focused on doing everything I can to optimize my preparation, training, and recovery. It’s going to take everything I have to get there and I can’t wait to tackle the Olympic challenge in 2021.
Champions + Legends is proud to partner with Adam Ondra, a true champion and legend in the making as he prepares for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Follow along with Adam at @championsandlegends and @adam.ondra.