As he campused to the finishing hold of the final problem at this past weekend’s La Sportiva Legends
Only competition, Jongwon Chon of South Korea sealed a perfect night—five problems, five attempts, five tops.
In addition to Chon, the other competitors at the 2016 La Sportiva Legends Only competition, held on November 26, included Jimmy Webb (USA), Alex Megos
(GER), Fujii Kokoro (JPN) and Rustam Gelmanov (RUS). Tomoa Narasaki (JPN), the overall winner of both the 2016 IFSC Bouldering World Cup and the 2016
IFSC Climbing World Championships in bouldering, was scheduled to compete, but withdrew due to a last-minute injury before the event.
Legends Only, held in Stockholm, Sweden, is unique among bouldering competitions. It’s an invitation-only event, usually featuring six of the strongest
boulderers in the world, competing on boulder problems considerably more difficult than those in most other comps. Furthermore, the athletes all
get to project the problems before the actual competition. The specific rules have varied slightly in the competition’s six-year history, but this
year the competitors were allowed three hours to preview and practice the five boulder problems two days ahead of time.
Finishing behind Chon were Fujii in second, with five tops in seven total attempts, and Megos in third, with four tops in four attempts. Gelmanov and
Webb each topped out two of the boulder problems, but the former took fourth place based on more bonus holds achieved. Gelmanov, the shortest competitor
in the field, had trouble with some of the larger moves, while Webb, only recently returned to climbing after recovering from a finger injury,
fought off “food poisoning” from the night before.
With his victory, Chon joins the rarefied company of the three other climbers to have graced the top of the podium in the male edition—there
is a female competition as well, which began in 2015—of the La Sportiva Legends Only event: Adam Ondra (2011, 2014), Sean McColl (2012) and
Jimmy Webb (2013).