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Luce Douady, French Olympic climbing hopeful, dies at 16 in cliff fall

Luce Douady of France competes during the finals of the EYC European Youth Cup Lead on July 8, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
Luce Douady of France competes during the finals of the EYC European Youth Cup Lead on July 8, 2018 in Munich, Germany. Marco Kost/Getty Images

Teenage rock climber Luce Douady, a youth world champion who dreamed of representing France at the Olympics, has died following an accident on the cliffs near her home.

The 16-year-old suffered a fatal fall while exploring the cliffs near Grenoble, France, on Sunday, according to the French Mountain Climbing Federation (FFME). She was with her friends at the time.

“Luce Douady, 16 years old and a young hope of French climbing, was the victim of an accident,” the FFME said in a statement. “Luce was a very promising young athlete from the French climbing team. At only 16, the future was before her.”

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Douady slipped and fell from a passage equipped with a handrail between two climbing sections, according to the FFME. She fell about 150 metres onto an exposed section of access path.

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The teenager was seen as a rising talent in the sport of rock-climbing, which is slated to debut at the Tokyo Olympics with three separate disciplines, including bouldering, which was Douady’s specialty.

Douady won the 2019 youth world title in bouldering and placed fifth at the senior world cup in Colorado that same year. She was not on the roster for the French team in Tokyo but had been eyeing the next Summer Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

Tributes poured in for the teen climber following her death, with many users leaving messages on her Instagram account.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing described Douady as a “brilliant and talented athlete,” and paid tribute to her with a video posted on Facebook on Monday.

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“Au revoir, Luce,” the caption said.

Her climbing club, Chamery Escalade, mourned her as a “young woman full of energy, passion and talents” who was also a “beautiful person.”

With files from Reuters