This 16-Year Old Girl From Virginia Has Her Sights Set On A Gold Medal For Rock Climbing In The 2020 Olympics

The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will have a new sport in the lineup. For fans of extreme sports, it’s a big deal. The Olympic Committee has elected to include rock climbing as an official Olympic sport. That news is an even bigger deal for a 16-year old girl from Virginia. That’s because Ellie Sepulveda plans to take home a gold medal in the sport’s inaugural games.

Currently, Ellie is content to put on shows at her local indoor gym. She can scale the 60-foot walls like few in the area have ever seen. However, her skills do not run in the family.

In an interview with a local TV channel, Ellie’s father Rene said that he’s actually scared of heights!  That’s why he was so surprised that Ellie had found a sport like rock climbing to be passionate about. No one else in the family could do it.

Ellie has been climbing for the last 5 years. She first tried it while attending summer camp and she’s been hooked ever since. Ellie told the same news channel that she isn’t that great at more traditional sports. Anything with a bat or a ball is certainly not for her. But put her on a wall and she looks like a Marvel superhero.

Ellie said that to dominate at the sport at the Olympic level It’s going to take more than just strength and adrenaline. Strength plays a big part, to be sure, but you also have to plan your routes carefully and stay calm under pressure. Otherwise, you’re going to take a fall.

Ellie is already getting a taste for climbing at the international level. Over Thanksgiving break, she attended a competition in Ecuador. The month before she competed in the Climbing Worldcup in China.


The 2020 Olympics will only see 20 men and 20 women competing, so the competition for a spot is going to be fierce. Landing a spot as one of the top 40 climbers in the world has Ellie working overtime. She’s still attending school and training for the qualification rounds, which will begin next April. The qualification tests will run through February 2020.

If determination plays a part, Ellie Sepulveda is already a leg up, and we wish her the best of luck!