The climbing community of France, and the world, is in mourning today — a promising young athlete with a starry future ahead of her, has died.
Her name was Luce Douady and she died at the age of 16 after she fell from a mountain trail in the Alps.
Douady was walking to a climbing spot with a group of friends near Grenoble when she fell 500 feet while crossing an exposed path, The Daily Mail reported.
The 16-year-old was seen as a potential future Olympian in a sport which is due to feature for the first time in the rescheduled Tokyo Games.
She was already in the French climbing team and had won a bronze medal in a European senior event in addition to a junior world championship title, the Daily Mail reported.
The French climbing federation hailed her as a “very promising” climber with “the future before her” while her club paid tribute to a “beautiful person” and a “young woman full of energy, passion, talents.”
Mountain police in Haute Savoie confirmed the news of Douady’s death, telling Euronews that she had fallen 500 feet (150 metres) and that an investigation had been opened, The Daily Mail reported.
Douady was walking on an exposed path near Crolles and Saint-Pancrasse when she slipped and fell, French media said.
Initial investigations have found that Douady had likely not secured her cable properly to the handrail in the challenging pass, despite being familiar with the cliff, police said. They noted that this type of accident is rare in the area, The Daily Mail reported.
Douady would have turned 17 in November.
“Luce was a very promising young athlete from the French climbing team,” the French Mountain Climbing Federation (FFME) wrote in a statement on its website.
“At only 16, the future was before her. This terrible news hit her training comrades, her coaches and her club, Chambéry Escalade hard. But today, the whole federation is in mourning. We obviously think of her family and we will be at their disposal.”
“Luce Douady was a in love with all facets of climbing, capable of major achievements in natural sites,” the statement concluded.
The 2024 Paris Olympics committee tweeted a picture of Douady, writing: “Luce Douady was a promising talent of French climbing, a true champion who had so many summits to climb. Immense sadness and thoughts for her loved ones.”
Douady won the world junior bouldering championships in 2019 and came third in the adult European Difficulty Championship in the same year, The Daily Mail reported.
She also came fifth in women’s bouldering in Vail, Colorado at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Boulder World Cup last year.
Climbing was due to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games this summer, although these have been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.