Kyra Condie and Nathaniel Coleman are still wrapping their heads around making Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics.
"It doesn't feel real still," said Condie. Both compete in sport climbing, which makes its Olympic debut in 2020.
Condie is originally from the Minneapolis area. Coleman is a native of Salt Lake City. They visited North Texas recently for a competition at Summit Climbing in Plano.
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
The journey to the top of the sport has been a long one, especially for Condie. At the age of 12, she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Most of the vertebrae in Condie's spine had to be fused together. "There's moves that are definitely harder, but most of the time I find a good way around it," she said.
Coleman describes the pain that all climbers must overcome to succeed.
"Your nerves die in your fingertips and your toes. And then you're just numb so you can keep going," he said with a laugh.
Physical strength is only part of what it takes to be an Olympic climber. There is also mental stamina.
"You're always problem-solving when you're on the wall," Condie explained.
In the Olympics, every climber must tackle three disciplines: Bouldering, where athletes climb without ropes. Lead climbing, where athletes use ropes. And speed climbing, where athletes race to the top of a wall in a matter of seconds. Scores from each event are then combined. There are only two sets of medals. One for men, and one for women.
Condie said she is looking forward to walking in the Opening Ceremony while Coleman can't wait for the experience of living in the Athletes Village. With six months to go, both can dream knowing they've already punched their tickets to Tokyo.
"I think we're really lucky to have qualified so early in the season," said Condie.