Paris Olympics 2024 (Team USA): Meet Colin Duffy

Colin Duffy, 20, is an American professional rock climber who began his climbing career at the age of five and focuses on competition climbing. At the age of sixteen, he became the youngest climber to earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. He will be competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Colin Duffy’s Early Years with parents and his Education

Colin Duffy was born on December 10, 2003, to parents Nancy and Eric Duffy. From a young age, Colin demonstrated exceptional academic potential. He gained admission to Stargate Charter School, a public school in Thornton, Colorado focused on serving gifted and talented students.

Colin has always been a remarkably high achiever in his studies. He took a special interest in math and science at Stargate, foreshadowing his future goals to pursue engineering after finishing college.

Colin Duffy High School
Image: Colin Duffy High school graduation (Souce: Colin’s Instagram)

Colin graduated from Stargate Charter School in Spring 2022. Instead, Colin had his sights set on attending college locally in Colorado as soon as finishing high school.

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After graduating from Stargate, Colin began studying at the reputable University of Colorado Boulder engineering program in Fall 2022. He hopes to establish a professional career in engineering or a related field after completing his degree.

While thriving academically, Colin has also passionately pursued elite rock climbing since a very young age.

Colin Duffy Qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024

20-year-old climbing prodigy Colin Duffy recently qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, his second Olympics appearance. This past weekend at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Championships in Bern, Switzerland, Duffy put on an outstanding performance to claim the silver medal in the combined bouldering and lead climbing event.

His spectacular result was enough to punch his ticket to Paris 2024 and further cement his status as one of the world’s top up-and-coming climbers. Duffy made history by becoming the youngest male competitor at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he finished 7th in sport climbing’s debut Olympic appearance.

Duffy now holds the 14th and 16th global ranking in lead climbing and bouldering, respectively.

Duffy finished behind reigning Olympic bronze medalist Jakob Schubert of Austria, who claimed gold. Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 champion Alberto Ginés López of Spain faltered with a 29th-place result. Nathaniel Coleman, the Tokyo 2020 silver medalist from the United States, was absent from this World Championship event.

Colin Duffy’s Climbing Career So Far

Colin Duffy has been climbing for most of his life, getting his start at just 3 years old at a recreation center wall in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. By age 5 he had progressed to climbing at Lifetime Fitness before his parents enrolled him in classes at ROCK’n & JAM’n at 8 years old.

His parents Nancy and Eric Duffy have been quick to note “We’re just a regular family.” But it has been clear from early on that Colin is far from an average young climber.

Colin wins the prestigious IFSC Climbing World Youth Championships twice in both 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Duffy finished 2nd in the world at just 15 years old.

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In 2019 at age 15, Duffy stunned the climbing community by managing astonishing feats even the top adult climbers would struggle with. He “redpointed” three extraordinarily difficult 5.14-rated routes at the Red River Gorge in just days.

Just two years later in 2021, Duffy claimed his first 5.14d route. He has also solved at least one V14 bouldering route – an incredible accomplishment placing him clearly among elite adult climbers already.

Colin Duffy Rapid Olympic Rise

In 2020 at just 16 years old, Duffy won gold at the IFSC Pan American Championships. With the victory, he became the youngest-ever male climber to qualify for the Olympics.

A year later as a 17-year-old in 2021, Duffy reached his first ISFC World Cup podium by winning bronze for lead climbing at Villars.

At the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, teenage phenom Duffy advanced to the sport climbing finals in 7th position. His top 10 finish spoke volumes about his potential, as Duffy competed against rivals nearly twice his age as the youngest male in the entire climbing event.

Last year as an 18-year-old, Duffy enjoyed a real breakout, winning two gold medals at the same ISFC World Cup event to announce himself as a true title threat. In Innsbruck in June 2022, he went back-to-back by winning gold in bouldering and lead – a first for any male athlete.

Fast forward to February 2023, and the American climbing prodigy continues going from strength to strength. Duffy earned ISFC World Championship silver medals in both bouldering and lead to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics at just 20 years old.

Currently world-ranked 14th in lead and 16th in bouldering, Duffy has rapidly emerged as a podium threat for when the sport makes its second Olympics appearance at the next Summer Games.