EP 94: Nathaniel Coleman — Preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, Climbing in a Sauna, and Kendama Training


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Nathaniel Coleman is the men’s silver medalist of the Tokyo Olympics. We talked about his preparation for the games, training in a climbing sauna, the Olympic experience and winning silver, favorite root beer, Kendama as focus training, chess, why Nathaniel still practices the basics of climbing, doing the FA of ‘The Grand Illusion’ V16, and sport climbing plans.

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Show Notes:



4:30 – Garbage trucks, and a Tuesday morning in the life of Nathaniel Coleman

6:04 – What the two months following the Olympics have looked like for Nathaniel

8:20 – Finding out that climbing would be in the Olympics and having qualifying as a goal

10:44 – How Nathaniel’s goals evolved throughout the process

11:45 – Nathaniel’s mantra for combined nationals 2019, and the journey to qualifying

15:25 – How Nathaniel used his mantra, and self-belief vs. letting go of expectations

17:25 – Confidence, upbringing, and competing for himself

20:27 – The dice roll of competition

22:10 – Climbing with Kyle O’Meara, Nathaniel’s relaxed approach to training as a teenager, comparing himself to Sean Bailey, and thriving on a plan with “adequate rest”

25:50 – Balancing listening to motivation and pushing through it

26:46 – Typical training volumes for World Cup climbers

30:39 – How Nathaniel’s training to qualify for the Olympics vs. how he trained for Tokyo

34:25 – Balancing World Cups with prep for Tokyo

36:01 – Building a climbing “sauna” at the USA training center

36:15 – Getting used to climbing in the heat and humidity

40:41 – How Tokyo compared to the training sauna

43:19 – What it was like to get on the plane and fly to Tokyo

46:28 – The qualifying round in Tokyo, and realizing he made finals

52:16 – Recalibrating goals after making finals

53:48 – Finals

1:03:18 – Watching Jacob top the lead route

1:05:55 – Patron Question from Tyler: When it was all said and done, what did you think about the Olympic format?

1:08:19 – More context about the Olympic format, and Nathaniel’s thoughts on continuing to speed climb after Tokyo

1:10:35 – Great Aunt Armida

1:13:04 – Nathaniel’s Instagram posts after winning silver in Tokyo

1:14:54 – What Nathaniel’s accomplishment meant for US climbing

1:17:59 – The first and second perspective-changing events in Nathaniel’s climbing career

1:19:55 – Thoughts about hard outdoor rock climbing vs. competitions moving forward

1:21:54 – How Nathaniel balances training for outdoor routes vs. competitions, and preparing for a trip to the Red

1:24:25 – Context about ‘The Grand Illusion’

1:25:02 – Patron Question from Nick: Do you have any plans to come back to work on the ‘Lee Majors’ extension?

1:27:34 – Patron Question from Timothy: Does Nathaniel ever see himself getting into highball bouldering or trad/big wall climbing?

1:28:54 – Thoughts on retiring from competitions (when and why)

1:30:40 – Rootbeer

1:32:58 – Kendama

1:35:55 – How Nathaniel still practicing the basics in climbing

1:38:56 – Bonz Atron (the Chris Sharma of Kendama)

1:40:18 – Chess

1:41:28 – What Nathaniel does to relax and recharge

1:42:52 – Special thanks to Josh, Zach, and Meg

1:44:44 – Excited for the Red

1:45:58 – Gratitude

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