Cowichan climber off to Olympic qualifier

Brennan Doyle competing for Pan Am Championship

Cowichan climber Brennan Doyle is off to the Pan Am championships, a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Brielle Zacharias photo)

Cowichan climber Brennan Doyle is off to the Pan Am championships, a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (Brielle Zacharias photo)

Duncan’s Brennan Doyle has a shot next week to qualify as one of the first athletes to compete in sport climbing at the Olympic Games.

Climbing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, and if all goes right for Doyle at the Pan American Championships in Los Angeles, he could be among those to make history.

Doyle leaves on Saturday for California, and the Pan Am Championship runs for a week starting Tuesday. Unlike most climbing events, which separate the three disciplines of bouldering, lead and speed, the Olympics and their qualifying events combine all three, with the best overall athlete finishing first.

“I haven’t done too many events like it,” Doyle notes. “There’s usually just one local competition like that. I wouldn’t say it’s uncomfortable. I’d say it’s unfamiliar. It will be interesting to see how it goes.”

Speed is Doyle’s best discipline, and the one that actually qualified him for Pan Ams, but bouldering is his favourite.

There will be 22 male competitors in L.A., with just one spot in the Olympics on the line. Most of the others are on the World Cup circuit, but Doyle has yet to make his World Cup debut. He has competed in the Youth World Championships, placing 14th in speed and 39th in bouldering in the A division in 2019, but this will be his first adult event. He admits he’s “a little bit” nervous, but that’s not unusual.

“I don’t think I’m ever not nervous,” he says. “I don’t think the level of the event changes how not-nervous I am for it.”

Doyle calls Duncan home, but he spends most of the week in Victoria where he is in Grade 11 at the Canadian Sports School. That consists of classes in the morning at Belmont Secondary in Langford as part of the Canadian Sport School, and afternoons at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on the Camosun College campus in the afternoon for strength training and a study block.

While his training doesn’t focus specifically on climbing, the sports focus is definitely helpful. And it’s also useful to be closer to facilities like Boulders Climbing Gym and BoulderHouse Climbing.

“I’m in Victoria already,” he points out. “And that’s where I trained anyway last year, so it’s way faster to get there.”

Doyle is excited about the Pan Am championships and a chance to compete in the Olympics, but he’s not expecting a victory.

“It’s not realistic for me to win,” he says. “My goal is to make the finals, which would put me in the top eight. But obviously anything can happen, so I’m not going to rule it out.”

He wouldn’t turn down the opportunity, but the Olympics aren’t the be-all, end-all for Doyle.

“For some people, it’s their one main goal,” he said. “It would be super cool to go, but I’m not too worried about it. I just want to keep getting better and having fun.”

Just Posted

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read