While the NBA, NHL, MLB, and a number of other professional sports leagues have come to a halt amidst the global pandemic, this interruption has made room for athletes that linger in the shadows of such a vast sports industry. After state and federal demands shut down arenas, gyms, parks, and other facilities for organized sports, we ask, what is left? While we may feel stripped of our daily routine, we are afforded the time to look past major sports leagues and identify activities that we can still take part in, and maybe even stumble across some unknown legends.
Lynn Hill appears to be one of these legends in the shadows of the popular sports industry, making history as a professional rock climber. As a runner, gymnast, and climber, her natural athletic ability served her well as she pioneered free climbing in the 1980s and 1990s. She eventually became the first person, man or woman, to free climb The Nose on El Capitan, a 900 meter endeavor. “No matter what our physical differences, with the right combination of vision, desire and effort, just about any climb is possible,” she said to Redbull in the summer of 2019. “Short or tall, man or woman, the rock is an objective medium that is equally open for interpretation by all.”
Since she began climbing in 1975 at the age of 14, she has claimed numerous championships and awards from around the world, in countries like France, Italy, and the United States. While she identifies her best performance as “Midnight Lightning” in Camp Four-Yosemite Valley, which she was the first woman to climb, every ascent she has tackled is more than impressive to the average individual.
Her love for the sport is deeply rooted in her appreciation for the climbing community, her ability to embrace the natural environment, and the psychological challenge of each climb. While Hill has reached stardom in her field, this lifestyle does not carry the same fame or airtime associated with the NBA, the NFL, and many other professional sports leagues. In times of global pandemic, or even when our favorite teams are knocked out of the playoffs, check in on uncommon legends like Hill, they may be making history.
Photo Credit: Wiki, Flickr