The motivation reads as follows: "For his passion and the visions he managed to donate to the climbing world, bringing it to the attention of the larger world of art and culture." "Climbing is one of the few things that still makes me, dare I say it, happy," exclaimed Corona as he thanked the huge audience and numerous climbers. La Sportiva Competition Award Happiness is a feeling that is difficult to declare, and yet a word that is frequently abused. This certainly isn't the case of Spain's Urko Carmona Barandiaran. The incredulity with which he realised that he was the winner of the La Sportiva Competition Award – the prize for last season's best competition climber – was truly moving. Just like the explosion of joy from the audience as they applauded the European Paraclimbing champion as he lifted up his trophy. His subsequent dedication was beautiful, to all his "Compañeros paraclimbers."
Yes, he won this year's competition climbing Oscar "For the spirit, style, strength, and smile with which he deals with competitions and life in general, inspiring everyone to be a better person" is what the international jury comprised of 10 of the world's most important climbing magazines had written. And no one, including other two nominees – Russia's ace bouldering champion Dmitri Sharafudtinov and Japan's Lead winner Sachi Amma – had any doubts whatsoever. The standing ovation Urko received was fully deserved! Salewa Rock Award There was great excitement for the Salewa Rock Award, too, for the prize that recognises the best climbs outdoors. Belgium's Muriel Sarkany is a great competition champion from the past and, in her second life away from the competition circuit, she has transferred her passion for climbing onto the rocks and achieved a life-long dream: her first 9a. The Salewa Rock Award went to her "For the joy, passion and great results achieved on rock, as a natural progression from her great career as competition champion."
Joy once again. The same that could be seen in the eyes of the other two who had both been nominated for the award, the champion of champions Adam Ondra (4-times winner of the Salewa Rock Award) and the star of climbing, Germany's Alexander Megos. Yes, during the celebration at the Arco Casino it really did seem as if there was joy in the air. Or at least something that looked a lot like that form of happiness that comes from the pure and simple spirit of climbing. And the smile of Kay Rush, as ever the splendid presenter at the Awards, was another small proof of this.
ARCO ROCK LEGENDS HALL OF FAME
Salewa Rock Award – Josune Bereziartu (2006), Patxi Usobiaga (2007), Adam Ondra (2008), Chris Sharma (2009), Adam Ondra (2010), Adam Ondra (2011), Sasha DiGiulian (2012), Adam Ondra (2013), Muriel Sarkany (2014)
La Sportiva Competition Award – Angela Eiter (2006), David Lama (2007), Maja Vidmar (2008), Kilian Fischhuber (2009), Akiyo Noguchi (2010), Ramon Julien Puigblanque (2011), Anna Stöhr (2012), Mina Markovic (2013), Urko Carmona Barandiaran (2014)
INTERNATIONAL JURY 2014
President: Giorgio Balducci (regista RAI)
International magazines: Montana (CZE), Desnivel (ESP), Klettern (GER), UP Climbing (ITA), Montagne 360° (ITA), Meridiani Montagne (ITA), Risk (RUS), Man and Mountain (KOR), Gory (POL), The Circuit (NZ)
SALEWA ROCK AWARD 2014 NOMINATIONS (in alphabetical order)
Period: June 2013 – May 2014
Alexander Megos – Germany
After last year's 9a onsight, Megos certainly didn't glued to the sofa. On the contrary, the stopwatch has become the new yardstick to measure his achievements, with 9a+ repeats in less than 2 hours. More impressive though, he has begun to make first ascents at breakneck speed.
Adam Ondra – Czech Republic
Ondra is out to get everything. This year he freed three 9b's and one 9b+ (the third 9b+ in the world, all his) and, as the only person in the world, he onsights two 9a's. To date he has climbed almost 100 9a's or harder, an astounding record. Unsurprisingly he has already won the Arco Rock Legends Awards four times.
Muriel Sarkany – Belgium
Just one route, but what a line! After injuring her wrist and a long lay off, the strong Belgian – known for her thousand victorious competition battles – travelled to the Gorges du Loup to win the fight against a 9a. Another historic feat, for her personal curriculum but also for female climbing
LA SPORTIVA COMPETITION AWARD 2014 NOMINATIONS (in alphabetical order)
Period: competition season 2013
Sachi Amma – Japan
For the second year running the Japanese has proven that he's the man to beat in Lead competitions. But he's also a force to be reckoned with in bouldering, too, as can be seen from his 3rd place in the Combined ranking
Urko Carmona Barandiaran – Spain
The Spaniard is the man to measure against, and he confirmed this not only this season, but also in 2012 when he won the World Championship. Determination and a smile are his hallmarks, in competitions and elsewhere.
Dmitrii Sharafutdinov – Russia
After years of trying the ace Russian, three times Bouldering World Champion, finally wins his first Bouldering World Cup. Another dream come true.