Kyra Condie’s introduction to climbing was through a birthday party held at a climbing wall, aged 11. However, not long after this in 2010 she underwent spinal fusion surgery to correct a 70° ’S’ curve in her back.
Fast forward to January 2019 and Kyra emerges victorious after competing in the USA Climbing’s Combined Invitational event in Salt Lake. She continued this run of good form with her best ever results in the Lead World Cups, finishing 14th in Kranj and Inzai. Finishing 15th in the Combined World Cup ranking she guaranteed her invite to the Toulouse Olympic qualifying event taking place 28th Nov–1st Dec.
Below, she recounts overcoming idiopathic scoliosis and the journey that led to this important milestone in her climbing career.
“Sitting at my computer I opened up my browser and logged onto Facebook. I started scrolling through my feed and did a double take. Did I read that right? I scrolled a little further and saw the same post again. And again. And again.
'Climbing is to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo'
In 2013, competitive climbers finally thought climbing was going to make the cut as a 2020 Olympic sport, only to be rejected by the International Olympic Committee. At that point, many of us gave up hope, thinking the next chance would be in 2024. Skip ahead to 2016, and me speechless, staring at my computer screen and realising a dream I never really knew I had was becoming a very real possibility.
At that point, I hadn’t yet performed well on the international level, as an adult or as a youth climber. When I started climbing I was definitely naturally gifted, but I wasn’t the best. I wasn’t sending V11 off the couch or instantly winning national competitions, but I grew up in a competitive family that loved board games, card games, and jigsaw puzzles—you name it and we made it into a competition (yes, you can win at a jigsaw puzzle). So as soon as I joined the local climbing team and started going to competitions, I was hooked.
In my first year competing I made it to the Youth Bouldering National Championships and placed last in the finals round—like I said, I was not naturally the best. After watching the other amazing climbers in the country and watching the Open National Championships finals, I set my goals: I wanted to win the Youth Nationals.
I spent a lot of my time in middle school doodling podiums and finals routes in my school calendar and notebooks, imagining what it would be like to finish a climb in front of a huge crowd. My first national competition was in 2009 when I was 12-years-old, but at the end of that year I was diagnosed with severe, idiopathic scoliosis that subsequently required a 10-vertebrae fusion.