Teva Games 2010: Daniel Woods

Last year, 20-year-old climber Daniel Woods finished a disappointing second at the Teva Mountain Games' IFSC Bouldering World Cup. But after a four-month climbing tour in Europe and then solving the first V16 bouldering problem on U.S. soil, the Boulder, Colorado–based prodigy is the favorite at this June's World Cup, in Vail, which no American male has ever won.

Daniel Woods     Photo: Photograph by Courtney Sanders

OUTSIDE: Why is climbing more popular in Europe?
WOODS: Because of the resources they have. Where there isn't rock, there are gyms that teach kids from a very young age.

You're from Dallas. Not exactly a climbing town.
One of the badges I earned in Boy Scouts was learning to tie knots and climb. I got addicted.

Bouldering or sport climbing?
My passion is bouldering, but lately I've been trying traditional climbing and alpinism. I also want to sport-climb more seriously.

What do you think of the IOC's move toward making sport climbing an Olympic event in 2020?
It's amazing. Once it's an Olympic sport, its popularity will skyrocket.

Like how the biathlon skyrocketed?
More like snowboarding, I hope.

Big plans for your 21st birthday, in August?
Coming from Europe, it's not a big deal. But my fiancée is 22, so it sucks that she can go out and I can't.

You mean you haven't used your celebrity on Pearl Street?
Climbing is big here, but not that big. Maybe if I were Shaun White.

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