American climber Nathaniel Coleman ascended into Olympic history Thursday, capturing a stunning silver medal in sport climbing's first appearance at the Olympic Games.
Coleman delivered his best performance ever in an international combined competition in a thrilling, wide-open Olympic final which featured several of the sport's top names.
Coleman placed first in the bouldering round — the second of three disciplines — to give himself an opportunity at one of the first three sport climbing medals in Olympic history. His performances on the other two disciplines, sixth in speed climbing and fifth in lead climbing, set him short of only Spain's Alberto Gines Lopez for the gold medal.
Gines Lopez took the top spot in the speed discipline and reached two holds higher than Coleman on the lead wall to earn the top combined score of 28.
Austria's Jakob Schubert, the 2018 combined world champion, was the only one of seven finalists to top the lead wall. The effort earned him the bronze medal after lackluster performances in speed and bouldering.
Coleman is a bouldering specialist with two runner-up finishes at IFSC World Cup events under his belt, though both came in 2015. The 24-year-old Utah native had logged just one top-five finish in any discipline since, prior to his Olympic silver.
The other American male climber in Tokyo, 17-year-old Colin Duffy, finished seventh overall.