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Stefan Scarperi sending boulder #3 during the finals of the European Bouldering Championship 2015 in Innsbruck
Photo by IFSC
Stefan Scarperi during the European Bouldering Championship 2015 in Innsbruck
Photo by archivio Stefan Scarperi
Stefan Scarperi during the finals of the European Bouldering Championship 2015 in Innsbruck
Photo by archivio Stefan Scarperi
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Stefan Scarperi and his European Bouldering bronze in Innsbruck

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Interview with Italian climber Stefan Scarperi who on 16 May 2015 in Innsbruck, Austria won the bronze medal in the European Bouldering Championships.

Stefan Scarperi made us dream at the European Boulder Championships in Innsbruck two Saturdays ago where he won a spectacular bronze. This is an important medal, not just for Italy - which hasn’t celebrated a similar bouldering result since the days of Mauro Calibani (Winterthur, 2001), Christian Core (Winterthur, 2001, Chamonix 2002, Chamonix 2003) and Gabriele Moroni (Lecco, 2004) - but also for Scarperi who made a fantastic start to the new season and confirmed his talent that, almost unnoticed, took him to victory in the Italian Bouldering Cup and the Italian Bouldering Championship.

In Saturday’s qualifiers and Semis the 24-year-old from Eppan close to Bolzano laid the foundations, and in the Final he didn’t let himself be intimidated by neither his opponents nor his poor start - read just a zone on boulder #1 and no go on boulder #2… On problem #3 Scarperi pulled the rabbit out of a hat, stuck those improbable crimps to produce the boulder’s only top and win bronze, behind Jan Hojer and Adam Ondra and ahead of Jakob Schubert, Martin Stranik and Alexey Rubtsov.

Stefan, with what expectations did you travel to Innsbruck?
With none at all. I wanted to get into the semifinals and then see how it would end. It was the first competition of the season and this normally serves as a test to see if I’m on form and, looking at this result, I’d have to confirm that I am. I never expected to reach the final, let alone stand on the podium.

So how do you interpret this bronze, a point of arrival or a basis to start from?
I’d say it’s a starting point since the season has only just begun. In the upcoming months I have to fly from one part of the world to another. From Toronto to Vail then Chongquing and Hayang. This period is very stressful and always a tough test on the body.

You said that sometimes luck is on your side and you found ended up on the podium
Let's say that the basis is careful training over the years, but at the end of the day luck is always important. In recent years I’ve taken part in many international competitions and have noticed that in bouldering there is no such thing as an absolute champion, in almost every stage a different person wins and it’s this what makes bouldering so interesting.

In which environment have you encountered the major stimuli for your climbing?
I would say in myself. For three years I’ve been training hard and seriously, trying different workouts on my body. Perhaps I’ve now found a good balance between work and training.

You work as a route setter at the Salewa Cube climbing wall. Does this help you in competitions?
Setting problems sometimes helps me figure out the problems more quickly and imagine what the route setter originally had in mind. Route setting is pretty touch physically and I need to integrate this carefully into my training regime to avoid overloading.

Individualism or team work?
I am very individualistic because, unfortunately, in Italy there really isn’t a team to speak of. We all train alone and then meet up at the comps.

So how do you structure your typical week?
It depends on the period. Let's say I train for three weeks and and then work for a week, and twice a week I teach climbing to children. Alternatively when I train either I climb for a day or do weights, and so forth.

What do you need most now to progress?
I reckon I’ve found the right balance between work and training now. I honestly don’t know where my weaknesses lie, I’ll be able to tell you though at the end of the season.

Last question: tell us that magical third problem…
When I saw it I knew it was my style. At first I didn’t understand how to send it but then it slowly dawned on me. When I almost stuck the bonus I knew I’d be able to do it.I rested well and then gave it one last try and got to the top, like magic. The crowd went crazy but I didn’t realise what I’d just achieved. It was only when I came out of isolation for the 4th problem that I saw the leaderboard and it was then that I realised I was third and that my dream had come true.


19/05/2015 - European Boulder Championships: complete report
The full report of the European Boulder Championships that took place in Innsbruck, Austria on 14 - 16 May and was won by the Germans Jan Hojer and Juliane Wurm. While Adam Ondra and Anna Stöhr won silver, Stefan Scarperi and Katharina Saurwein won a splendid bronze medal. By Franz Schiassi.

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