Paris Olympics 2024 (Team USA): Meet Piper Kelly

The 24-year-old Piper Kelly is the first women’s champion in speed climbing who defeated fellow American Emma Hunt to earn a place in Paris in 2024.

Piper Kelly’s Early Life

She was born in 1999 and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kelly grew up as the daughter of John and Stephanie Kelly. Her father, a climber himself, introduced young Piper to the sport.

Piper Kelly Parents
Image: Piper Kelly’s graduation ceremony with her loved ones at Xavier University (Source: Piper’s Facebook)

Kelly also focused on academic achievement. She attended the selective Irvington Preparatory Academy for her high school education. Kelly then graduated in 2023 from Xavier University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. Demonstrating her various interests, she further obtained minors in both Psychology and Spanish during her college years.

Also Read: Paris Olympics 2024 (Team USA): Meet Emma Hunt

Now she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She dedicates consistent time there to her progress as a world-class speed climber. Additionally, Kelly works as a youth climbing coach, helping mentor the next generation of talented athletes in the area.

Piper Kelly Shoulder Surgery Back in 2020

In 2020, with global sports put on hold, Piper Kelly made the bold decision to go through shoulder surgery.

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic stopped athletic competitions worldwide. Kelly moves forward with a needed shoulder procedure. Doctors anticipated the surgery and recovery would span around 12 months in total.

Piper Kelly Shoulder Surgery
Image: Piper Shoulder Surgery Back in 2020 (Source: Piper’s Facebook)

“I had shoulder surgery in 2020 and that was a year-and-a-half, almost two years of recovery, so happy to have been able to get back from that. That’s a surgery that not everyone can ever make a full recovery from.”

Kelly said

After a successful shoulder surgery, the shoulder is now fine. And she had made the Olympic team.

Piper Kelly Qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024

This past Saturday at the 2023 Pan American Games, American climber Piper Kelly captured victory in the women’s speed climbing event. Kelly’s winning time of 7.52 seconds bested runner-up and teammate Emma Hunt for the top of the podium. Ecuador’s Andrea Rojas took bronze on the day.

It wasn’t Kelly’s first Pan-American win, she also won the same event back in 2018 at the Pan-American Championships hosted in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

In the women’s Speed event, the second US climber to be awarded an Olympic quota place was Kelly.

Piper Kelly’s Career So Far

Piper Kelly’s career in climbing started with humble backyard beginnings. Her father, John Kelly, introduced the sport. This sparked a talent that saw rapid competitive growth in later years.

A multi-sport athlete, Kelly explored volleyball, track, cross country, and soccer through age 12. Then she joined a youth climbing squad, fully focusing on her natural gifts by age 14.

Kelly took the climbing world in 2018, rising to elite international status. That year she stunned at her first World Cup appearance, taking 11th against top competition in Arco, Italy. Kelly would claim gold just months later at the 2018 Pan American Championships in Ecuador. And she cracked the top 30 on her first try at the World Championships in Switzerland. At the Bern World Championships, she placed 26th.

Now 24, Piper Kelly shocks as the top-ranked American female speed climber, having claimed 28th internationally. Taking the 2023 Pan American gold Kelly is qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics.In the Pan American Games, Kelly packed her bags and moved to Utah to train full-time six weeks ago.