Fanny Gibert: Road to the Innsbruck World Championships

Everything started on the basalt rock of Réunion Island where I lived from age 4 until the end of high school. This little French island lost in the Indian Ocean was the best place ever for growing up.

In the beginning, I was not very passionate about climbing. I loved practicing every sport. I was just following friends and my big brother. However, a teacher from my school named Thierry Caillaud—who happened to be a crazy passionate climber—created a little training group with Manon Hily. Slowly I stopped every other sport to climb more and more: bouldering, lead, indoor and outdoor.

In my first competition I was not the best, but my results slowly improved every year. When I finished high school, I applied for INSA de Lyon—an engineering school with a sports section. I was 17 years old when I left home to start studying and training by myself. It was then that our national coach suggested I choose between bouldering and lead to expect better results in one of those disciplines. Turns out bouldering was a pretty good choice: two years later I was standing on my first Bouldering World Cup podium.

When I started training with Nico Januel (National coach), he was living in Paris while I was in Lyon. He was sending me a training plan and I was doing it by myself. The first years of studying and training alone were not easy but being surrounded by other athletes from different sports was an incredible experience.

The support I received from my parents in those moments made all the difference. All along they supported me the best way they could, and I cannot thank them enough for helping with all the hard decisions I had to make to become who I am now. I’ll always remember the morning I woke up and realized that every decision I made was based on climbing. It seems like only a second passed from being the little girl having fun climbing to the high-level athlete I am now.

Last September I started training with Cécile Avezou. This change improved my climbing in many aspects. I’ve learned a lot from her, self-confidence being one of them. Also having a weekly session with my coach helps. This year I’m having the best season of my life.

Competing can be crazy frustrating sometimes, but the happiness I feel when I succeed is unbeatable!

I don’t have a big objective this year as I’m having a blast competing in bouldering and I simply want to give my best to be the strongest I can at the World Championship in Innsbruck. Tokyo 2020 will be in my sights very soon too.

While most people are in love with climbing straight from the beginning, my passion grew step by step. I’m still discovering climbing every day and every time I love it a little more. The possibility of movement you can learn is infinite. It’s a brilliant mix of physical, technical and mental skills. And there’s no better feeling than challenging yourself on a problem that looks way too hard and putting the right energy at the right moment to make it all possible.

--BD Athlete Fanny Gibert

Tickets and more information on the IFSC Climbing world championships: here.

Images: Bjorn Pohl