Alexey Rubtsov is a legend of the competition climbing world, known for his rapid ascent into the elite ranks of global bouldering. Coming into the sport as a 17-year-old, Alexey was Bouldering World Champion at 20, a feat that may never be repeated!
Coming up through the hard training Russian system, Alexey was lucky enough to begin training with established World Cup legends like Rustam Gelmanov. Although these training relationships would not last it was great for giving Alexey an insight into the training required to be a member of the world elite.
The outcome of this hard training and hard climbing philosophy was that Alexey became one of the preeminent competition boulderers of the last decade, a constant threat in World Cup finals.
Then, just when it looked like the stars would align for Olympic qualification it all went wrong for the Russian legend. Mid crux on a problem in finals at The Rock, Ljubljana in 2019, Alexey tore his bicep tendon away from its attachment and it looked like the Olympic dream was over.
In a strange twist of circumstance the global outbreak of Covid-19 caused the postponement of many of the qualification events and that allowed Alexey the time he required to rehabilitate and get back into the physical condition he needed to be in with a chance of qualification. It was a chance he took with both hands, securing an Olympic berth by winning the European champs, his last opportunity to qualify.
Now Alexey can focus on training for what may well be the swansong of his illustrious career, putting in the hours in his gym in Moscow, aptly named Climb In Tokyo.
Words and images by The Circuit Climbing