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2023 July - Feather Crush - Eric Roussin

Eric Roussin

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Yesterday Canada’s first ever women-only grip contest was held in Ottawa. While I was not there, I’m aware of the turnout and know the results, and I think it’s worth doing a contest write-up to highlight this momentous event.

The contest was organized by partners Rachel Hartviksen and Andrew Nguyen. They recently discovered grip sport, and competed for the first time at the Canadian National Grip Sport Championships this past April. Both are lightweight climbers with strong grips. Rachel was by far the smallest competitor at Nationals, weighing about 100 lbs. While she enjoyed the experience, she liked the idea of competing against women who are closer to her size. Having a large circle of friends potentially interested in taking part in a grip contest, she decided she wanted to organize a contest. And so, she and Andrew came up with Feather Crush.

They were interested in making sure the lifts would be recognized in the GSI database, so they chose events that were already tracked and proceeded with formal contest sanctioning. They selected the Mini Inch Pinch, the Grandfather Clock, the IronMind Hub, and the Two-Hand 2” Napalm Nightmare. To finish things off, they included a 20-item medley.

In total, 15 women took part in the contest – by far a record women’s turnout in a Canadian single-venue contest. Most were in the lighter weight classes (10 weighed less than 60 kg). The contest offered all the GSI women’s classes (47 / 52 /57 / 63 / 72 / 84 / 84+ kg) and there were competitors in each of them.

Unfortunately, it appears that about half the competitors had to leave following the second event, but those who stayed until the end battled it out. Kathy Facey, by far the most experienced competitor of the bunch, took first place overall, but 63 kg class competitor Shaolin-Rose Gawat kept her on her toes – she tied Kathy in three of the five events, and came close to her numbers on the other two. In fact, based on my analysis, I consider Shaolin-Rose to already be among the top 5 female grip sport competitors in North America under 72 kg!

As I wasn’t there, I don’t feel I can provide many more details. I mostly wanted to highlight the amazing job that Andrew and Rachel did in putting this contest together. They’re confident that they can get even more women to compete in King Kong this October!

The full contest results can be found on the Canada Grip Sport website and the results have been entered into the GSI database.



PS: Andrew loves to build things and has already begun making custom grip equipment. Check out his stuff: “nemesisgrips” on Instagram.

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