Janja Garnbret (SLO) and Tomoa Narasaki (JPN) are the adidas ROCKSTARS 2016
Pics Elias Holzknecht, Christian Waldegger
The weekend of 24 & 25 September saw the World’s elite rock climbers descend on Stuttgart for a truly special competition. adidas ROCKSTARS paired over 70 invited athletes from 22 different countries with intense musical performances and a passionate and vocal crowd of over 3500 fans to create an event unlike anything else in the climbing universe.
Even by the high standards of adidas ROCKSTARS, the athlete line-up this year was incredibly strong. Of the 72 athletes who started, the field was narrowed over 2 rounds to just 6 male and 8 female finalists (due to a three-way tie for 6th place in the semi-finals 8 women progressed to the final instead of the usual 6). Amongst those 14 finalists were the reigning male European Boulder Champion, male Boulder World Cup overall winner, male Boulder World Champion, female World Boulder Champion and female Lead World Champion! In addition there also was at least one previous adidas ROCKSTARS winner in both the men’s and women’s final, meaning that before a hold had even been touched, observers were predicting one of the most fascinating and tight finals in history.
As the arena filled up on Saturday evening the excitement in the air was extraordinary and the already pumped up crowd was encouraged to make even more noise by punkrockers Orange but Green, the mixing master DJ battle and human beatbox Robeat. By the time the athletes were ready to hit the stage the Porsche-Arena was alive and the crowd was creating a wall of noise to welcome their heroes onto the stage.
Two hours later, the crowd staggered out of the arena having witnessed one of the best finals in the 6-year history of this event. Japan continued their dominance of male bouldering in 2016, with Tomoa Narasaki (JPN, 20) adding the adidas ROCKSTARS title to his World Championship and Boulder World Cup overall win. He commented after the event, "2016 was my season". It would be impossible to argue otherwise. He beat local favourite Jan Hojer (GER) into second place but nobody could claim that Tomoa didn't deserve his win.
In the women's competition, 17 year-old Janja Garnbret showed why many experts are calling her a climbing sensation. She won the Lead World Championship in Paris a week ago and is now the adidas ROCKSTAR for 2016. To claim either title is to secure a place amongst the greats; to win both in the same week, aged 17, is scarcely believable. She was exhausted after the final but, worryingly for her competitors, was already commenting in the athlete lounge that she wanted to train hard and come back stronger next year.
“It feels awesome to be the new adidas ROCKSTARS Queen” said the Slovenian. I always watched this event and I thought this red button on top of the wall looked very tempting! I was happy to be in the super-final, but when I could press the red button I was extremely happy.
At first it felt a bit weird to be in a bouldering comp, because I do mostly lead and boulder just for fun, but it was such a great atmosphere here in Porsche-Arena and when I could turn around and see them all cheer for me as I pushed the button it felt just amazing. adidas ROCKSTARS is very special with an eliminator style, different from the World Cups, which makes it very exciting for the audience to watch the super-final head-to-head on identical problems. The atmosphere amongst the competitors is also more relaxed, we can hang out more together which is awesome! I like to interact with the audience so that they cheer louder for me, it gives me some extra energy!”
adidas ROCKSTARS 2016 - loud, intoxicating, amazing and it would seem, a glimpse of the climbing future.
1. Tomoa Narasaki (JPN)
2. Jan Hojer (GER)
3. Jongwon Chon (KOR)
4. Alban Levier (FRA)
5. Rustam Gelmanov (RUS)
6. Jernej Kruder (SLO)
1. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
2. Jessica Pilz (AUT)
3. Miho Nonaka (JAP)
4. Stasa Gejo (SER)
5. Petra Klingler (SUI)
6. Leah Crane (GBR)
7. Akiyo Noguchi (JAP)
8. Mina Markovic (SLO)
Complete result lists are available under