Molly Thompson Smith
Job title Climbing
Employer Mintridge Foundation
Molly Thompson-Smith is the UK’s shining light in Lead Climbing. Five times National Champion at only 20 years old, she is currently ranked 7th in the World and set to compete in Tokyo as climbing enters the Olympics for the first time.
She joined her local climbing club aged 8 and within a year was asked to join the competition squad. Aged 12 she was selected on the national team and started competing at international youth competitions. When she was 16 years old, she started entering senior World Cups and along the way picked up sponsorship partners that allow her to climb full time.
By the age of 16 she was ranked no. 1 in the world and won the European Youth Cup. In 2017, she came third in the Senior Lead World Cup championship in Kranj, Slovenia, and finished 7th in the world overall.
Molly perfectly embodies female physical strength, agility and grace, as well as diversity in the world of outdoor sports. With 90% of the UK’s black population never having tried mountaineering or climbing Molly is determined to do her part to grow this by taking to the international stage and demonstrating the raw strength, physicality and mental challenge of putting yourself against the wall.
Molly outlines how to get into climbing and offers advice to young athletes keen to establish a professional career in sport.
What does it take to forge a professional career in sport?
A lot of dedication and commitment to whatever your goal is. It won’t be a simple journey with only positive progress made – there’ll be good competitions, bad ones, injuries, tough decisions and people who may not support you. But you must focus your energy on your sport and try to set a goof example for others around you too.
Your advice to young people on how to achieve success…
Motivation: Your motivation needs to come from within yourself – you won’t get the best out of yourself if you’re trying to do it for someone else!
Confidence: Confidence really is key, and believing in yourself is an essential skill set as an athlete.
Fitness: You really have to work for your fitness – it won’t come if you don’t put the time in! Figure out a training method that works for you but don’t be afraid to tweak it as you change as an athlete.
Nutrition: Fuelling your body well is just as important as the time you spend practicing your sport; don’t undo your hard work by not getting the right amount and types of food you need! But also, don’t forget to enjoy the things you like, whether that’s some cake or ice cream every now and again!
Advice for Young Athletes Attending a Trial…
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – enjoy yourself and a good performance should come from that!
Best advice you were given?
To only do what I love! If the love isn’t there for your sport, you’ll just be wasting your time.
Molly Thompson-Smith is an Ambassador for The Mintridge Foundation a registered charity dedicated to enhancing life skills in young people through sport. They provide a support network for young people by harnessing the power of positive sporting role models. For more information on how they can support your sports programme visit their website.
More advice on how to become a professional sports athlete…
Football – Fil Kamps
Gymnastics – Grace Harrison
Judo – Nekoda Davis
Hockey – Shona McCallin MBE
Wheelchair Basketball – Jordan Jarrett Bryan
Cricket – Patrick Foster
Trap Shooting – Georgina Roberts
Archery – Danielle Brown MBE
Athletics – Iona Lake
Basketball – Marko Backovic
Sailing – Hannah Diamond