The future is female.
Arc’teryx is proud to announce it’s support of Oceana Mackenzie, Australia’s only female rock climbing Olympian.
At just 19 years old and with only 3 years on the international competitive circuit, Oceana is Australia’s top-ranked female sport climber across all disciplines: lead, speed and bouldering. With a strong debut performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, her sights are now firmly set on Paris 2024 and the upcoming World Cup circuit.
We caught up with Oceana (and her dog TBC) at Urban Climb in Melbourne to get her thoughts on training in lockdown and the future of climbing.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into climbing?
I first got into climbing with my family. My mum took my sisters to the local climbing gym near us; I was too young to climb there but I would sneakily traverse the walls. So eventually they let me climb haha. And from there I fell in love with it!
Being in Melbourne, you’ve been locked down for most of the year. How do you balance serious training while looking after yourself?
Honestly it was pretty hard, I wouldn’t say I had the balance between training and life. It was very easy to just put all my energy into training, especially when I had the Olympics coming up. But I got a Nintendo Switch and that was actually such a nice way to relax and not think about training or climbing. Also hanging out with my family :)
Aside from your belayer, climbing is largely a solo endeavour. What impact does community have in climbing?
COVID has taught me that climbing with people is where it’s at! I was very fortunate to have access to gyms over lockdown, but a lot of the time it was just me or a few other high performance athletes. It’s a lot harder to get psyched sometimes when it’s just you in a big gym. Climbing should be fun most of the time and that comes from being surrounded with like-minded people.
There’s no doubt that climbing will increase in popularity from it’s addition in the Olympics. How would you like to see the sport change over the coming years?
I would love to see climbing get more equal, and more diverse. I think we have a long way to go for this but it’s something we all need to work for. Climbing is an amazing sport and I want everyone to have access to it and feel welcome like I did. As well as all the regular resources that other athletes get: training facilities, sponsorships and also funding for travel would help take competitive climbers to the next level.
How do you find Outer Peace? What impact does being outdoors have on you?
Being outdoors is something I’ve always loved, swimming, running, climbing, or just playing in the park. I used to climb outside a lot when I was younger and it got me really psyched and keen for training. It’s such an amazing feeling being out in the sun (or wind and rain!) while climbing on real rock. It’s also a nice break from climbing on plastic all the time. Like I said, trying to find more balance, and climbing outdoors is a great place for me to start :)
Where can people find you online?
I’m on Instagram (@oceana_climbing), Facebook (Oceana Mackenzie - Climbing) and oceanamackenzie.com. Also stay tuned for a YouTube account!
Images by: Yanni Zhou