At his home World Cup in June, he impressively proved again how great climbing is. Jakob Schubert, four-time world champion and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, has been the fixture on the climbing circuit for more than a decade, whether on rock or in sport climbing. He has just thrilled thousands of local fans with his third-place finish in lead climbing, including a selected group of young talents he had invited to the climbing camp a few days earlier.
A training day with Jakob Schubert at the Kletterzentrum Innsbruck for ambitious young climbers - that was the brief for the first Jakob Schubert Climbing Camp. While a few places were given to talents within the Austrian Climbing Association, further spots on the camp were raffled off as part of Raiffeisen's 'Wir macht's möglich' campaign.
"The idea of such a camp has been growing in me for a while," said the bronze medalist from Tokyo. "Climbing has given me so much personally and enriched my life immensely. So if I can give some of my time to guide and accompany the young and aspiring in the sport a bit on their way, I do it with the deepest conviction because I know how important it is for development."
For two girls and five boys from all parts of Austria, the acceptance to the camp was nothing less than a dream come true. For Leonie from Vienna it was the best birthday present 'ever' from her dad, Julian from Carinthia on the other hand "half freaked out with joy when I heard about the camp", for all of them together the intense hours of joint training were a unique opportunity to get to know their great role model personally, to get invaluable tips on the bouldering wall and to hear from Jakob himself what it takes to become the best in this sport.
"The group was really motivated, you could tell they want to be the best; you can feel they have the talent and I hope I brought them one step closer to it all with my tips," the 32-year-old said he also wanted to teach the youngsters about the psychology of a top athlete above all else. "Everyone should have the opportunity to become a world champion at some point, if they really have the will!"
Tips on how to inspect and visualize routes and boulder problems were literally absorbed by the aspiring young climbers, but the enthusiasm was also evident in Schubert himself.
"For me, it was totally exciting to see where the 10 to 12-year-olds in Austria stand. I was very impressed with the level of the kids. They all climbed really well," Schubert said. "Especially with the modern bouldering moves, jumps and foot coordination, which I struggle with, you can tell that many of the kids are growing up with it and are already really talented at it."
The seven-time overall World Cup winner confirms that it's not just the participants who benefit from such a workshop: "It's given me motivation for my own training as well. Seeing the fire in the eyes of the youngsters and try to give them tips on their way to hopefully becoming world champions was amazing."
The 52nd podium finish in the 84th Lead World Cup recently in Innsbruck is thus also dedicated to a very special group in the audience: Simon, Ella, Mateo, Leonie, Raphael, Richard and Julian.
Photocredit: Flo Gassner