Climbing at a competitive level since age 14, Sierra Blair-Coyle has gotten a lot under her belt in what seems like a very short amount of time. The U.S. Bouldering Team member (since 2010) and two-time national junior champion counts among her favorite finishes a third place in both the female open bouldering and speed categories at the 2014 Dominion Riverrock Boulder Bash and her sixth in the female open class at the 2013 Portland Boulder Rally.
Her accomplishments aren't limited to the rock, however. When she's not training or competing, Blair-Coyle is managing her a full course load at Arizona State University, where she's studying marketing with a concentration in digital and integrated marketing communications. Given her focus and drive, it was no surprise to learn that the Arizona native landed there on a full-ride academic scholarship.
"I qualified by exceeding the Arizona standardized tests and maintaining above a 3.0 GPA. I graduated with a 4.0 and exceeded all of the standardized tests when I was 16, so it was nice to have that stress off of my back!" she says. "Career wise, I would love to have my own marketing and public relations firm."
Here, we get a little glimpse into what makes her tick.
Describe your dream day from dawn 'til dusk, from when you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night.
I think my dream day waking up in the morning is eating just an awesome breakfast, whatever it is. I really like making protein ice cream. I feel like that's not the most exciting breakfast, but I really like it.
After that I would like to go out and lay on the beach. I live in Arizona, so we obviously don't have an ocean, but I really love water. So I'd play out in the water and grab lunch later and take an afternoon nap; that's one of my favorite parts of the day. And after that just go to the gym and climb until I can't climb anymore and hang out with my friends for the rest of the night.
Who's in your personal hall of fame?
When I was growing up climbing, [it was] one of the older guys at the gym; he actually ended up dating my sister for a couple of years. But he was the best climber in the gym and probably the best in Arizona, and one of the best climbers nationally as well. But what I really liked about him is in addition to being an incredible climber, he was also going to school full time. He obviously was in high school and then college, and he was working as well outside of climbing. And today he's incredibly successful in corporate real estate.
I always admired the fact that he could do it all and have it all. So I always aspired to be like him. Even in his climbing, he was very talented, but he wasn't naturally talented. Like, he worked so hard, and I haven't met a harder-working athlete to this day.
What are you reading these days?
My current reads are mysteries or romance novels, so it's always really eclectic when I'm at Barnes & Noble. They think I'm slowly turning into a grandma, but that's fine.
What are you watching?
OK, so I'm obsessed with "Pretty Little Liars." That's probably, like, my favorite show. But I really like "[The] Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story," and then I watch "Real Housewives of Orange County" and Beverly Hills and Atlanta and New York. Yeah. Crazy mix.
And what about listening? What do you have on your playlist?
I listen to mostly, like, rap and hip-hop. It's better training for me. Some dubstep as well, but it changes a lot. Just depends on kind of what's popular and then what I can find.
Do you listen to things differently when you're training than when you're maybe on the plane coming to a competition?
Not really. I kind of keep my playlist the same all the time. And then it gets to the point where you're like, "Well, I've heard this, like, 400 times."
I'm guilty of the same. What's your worldview — like, your code for living?
I think my code for living is to just be happy and do what you love and work hard. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that hard work often translates into better opportunities and that makes you happier. You have to put in the groundwork and then everything else tends to work out.
Oh my gosh. So, OK, my guest list would just include, like, all of my friends and family because they're super important to me. I mean, other than that, this is a really tough question. There's so many people I'd love to meet. I'm trying to think who seems really fun.
I don't know…I really want to meet Bill Maher one day. I think he's cool. I just think if I could, [I'd] choose tons of other athletes, because I love meeting athletes. I don't have anyone specific in mind, but that's kind of what I've learned. Athletes are really fun to hang out with.
Do you have any regrets? Anything that you're sorry for?
I don't have any regrets. I mean, the few things I could say that I regret are any time I've put anything else in front of climbing, but that happens less and less over the years. I think you understand that it gets more and more important. I mean, it would be minimal things, like "Oh, I'm just going to skip working out today to go hang out with friends." And sometimes you need that, but other times it's like, "Alright, you really should have done that workout instead."
The last question I have for you is what is your most embarrassing moment?
OK, most embarrassing moment: This isn't, like, super embarrassing, but everyone makes fun of me about it at the gym. I was doing a dyno, so, you know, jumping all points off to another hold. And I literally landed, like, flat on my face. Like I landed and I was like, "I broke my neck." And I bounced from my face to my feet and I was like, "OK guys, I totally broke something."
And everyone was like, "Dude, you're still standing, you didn't break anything." And I was like, "Is my nose broken, guys?" And they were like, "No, it's not broken. You would know if your nose was broken." And so that was really funny, but everyone just makes fun of me every time I get on, like, a dyno; they're like, "Oh, are you going to face plant today?"
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