A Twin Cities native hopes to climb her way to top of Olympic podium in 2020

A woman on a climbing wall
Climber Kyra Condie of Shoreview is one of four Americans who will compete in sport climbing, which debuts as a new sport in the 2020 Summer Olympics. She had major back surgery after she was diagnosed with scoliosis.
Dan Gajda | Courtesy of USA Climbing

A Shoreview native and University of Minnesota graduate will try to climb her way to the top of the Olympic podium next summer in Tokyo.

A woman smiles
Climber Kyra Condie
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

“I still haven't quite convinced myself that it's real,” Kyra Condie told MPR News’ Steven John on All Things Considered.

She will be one of two women to represent the United States in the first-ever sport climbing competition at the Summer Games. She qualified earlier this month at an event in France.

Condie’s climbing career almost never got off the ground. When she was 13, Condie had to have a spinal fusion surgery to correct a 70-degree curvature in her back due to severe idiopathic scoliosis.

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“The first surgeon I went to told me that I wouldn't be able to climb — like I shouldn't worry about it,” said Condie. “[They said] I'd have a family one day, wouldn't worry about sports.”

“That didn't sit very well with me, and so I found a different surgeon,” she recalled. “He was really, really reassuring. [He] told me to send me him a picture of me on top of the podium whenever I got there again.”

Three people hug.
Climber Kyra Condie of Shoreview celebrates with her parents, Cathy and Tom, after they found out she qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Dan Gajda | Courtesy of USA Climbing

The sport climbing competition takes place Aug. 4-7 next year as part of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

For more of Steven John’s conversation with Kyra Condie, click play on the audio player above.