This Is What Athletes Say Behind the Scenes at the CrossFit Games
Ladies and gentlemen of the CrossFit community, we’re already over halfway through the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games!
Whether you’re watching from the comfort of your living room (holding a plank in front of the television) or flew to Madison to get up close to the action, you’ve certainly been witnessing a show.
From PR’s to withdrawals, emotions run high at the Games.
Ever wonder what the athletes say after they exit the lights of the competition floor? Curious about the conversations that take place behind the scenes?
So were we.
This past week, we went backstage at the Games to find out just that.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the most vulnerable, impactful and hilarious moments we witnessed.
On TE7, CrossFit Mayhem Independence and @crossfitmayhemfreedom took first and second place respectively. - “When we weren’t with Freedom in that top heat the first day, it gave us a little spark,” says @darrenhunsucker of Mayhem Independence. - “That’s where we want to be—all eight of us out there together. That’s where we’re the most comfortable.“ - Two-time Affiliate Cup Champion CrossFit Mayhem Freedom sits in first place going into tonight’s event. CrossFit Mayhem Independence sits in second. - “I do think some people probably underestimated Independence coming into the week,” says Hunsucker. - “Hopefully they don’t anymore.” - @crossfitgames @reebok @coreyjenkinsphoto #crossfitgames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:51pm PDT
“I loved the three elements. I just loved the programming of that event,” says @tiaclair1 after winning the Madison Triplus. - “I found this one easier than the run and swim event last year. - “We took the first run so fast last year which made the other portions really hurt.” - Despite the addition of the paddle, Toomey found herself in a foot race with @kristieramo until the final few meters of the run. It was deja vu to 2017. - “I was so wrapped when she was close to me on the board,” says Toomey. “I know she can run.” - “But I love having competitors. That’s what makes me better.” - Toomey looked like a seasoned vet on the paddle board. - When asked if she paddles often, Toomey laughs. - “Never,” she says. “People just think you do when you’re from Australia.” - Both Toomey and Eramo had faster times in the event than the first place male. - @crossfitgames @reebok @antlucicphotography #crossfitgames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:57am PDT
Two-time Fittest Woman on Earth @katrintanja ended yesterday with an event win on Fibonacci. - “What a great Friday,” said Davidsdottir as she cooled down. - “The total was honestly the worst thing that could show up for me,” she said, reflecting on her 36th place finish in the CrossFit Total on Wednesday. - “I can be upset about it or I can look at it as what a cool opportunity. That’s a cool story.” - “I can work back from that.” - And she did. Davidsdottir finished Friday’s events in third, eight and first place respectively. - “I‘m feeling really good. I’m high on energy.” - Davidsdottir enters today in fourth place overall. - @crossfitgames @reebok @antlucicphotography
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 4, 2018 at 4:04am PDT
This is @amandajbarnhart’s first #CrossFitGames and she just earned her first event win. - “Well, that’s gonna be surreal for the next 24 hours,” Barnhart says of her win in the Clean and Jerk Speed Ladder. - “I knew I was good at cleans but I wasn’t expecting that.” - As for how she would describe the Games thus far, Barnhart laughs. “It’s tough,” she says. - “Everyone talks about how the Games is a beating. Now that I’m in it, I see why.” - “This is freaking hard.” - The individuals have one more event tonight: Fibonacci. - “I practiced it a couple weeks ago,” says Barnhart. - @crossfitgames @reebok @antlucicphotography
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 3, 2018 at 4:03pm PDT
IE6 is still unannounced. - “I think it’s going to be something heavy involving a squat,” says @fikowski. - What would he like the event to be? - “Something light not involving a squat.” - @maddiesturt, who is seated beside Fikowski, bursts into laughter at his response. - After a seventh place finish in The Battleground, Fikowski sits in sixth overall. - “I feel better today than I did on Friday last year,” says Fikowski. - “And I definitely feel better than I did the year before.” - “I’m presumably getting better at recovery every year which is good.” - @crossfitgames @reebok
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 3, 2018 at 10:59am PDT
This is the second year in a row that #CrossFitGames athletes completed an obstacle course. - “It was much more fun than the obstacle course last year,” says @laurenfisher as she walks off the field after IE5, The Battleground. - “Last year, it was quick and for time so you couldn’t have any mess ups. If you messed up once, it was over.” - “This one was about keeping your cool for longer.” - “My legs still feel heavy from the row which made it tough,” she adds. “But everyone’s in the same boat with that.” - @chynacho agrees with Fisher. - “I had to redo the cargo net which I’m not happy about, but still, it was way better than last year.” - “It’s a fun event,” says Cho. - @crossfitgames @reebok @antlucicphotography
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 3, 2018 at 9:12am PDT
Cookeville-based affiliate @thecrossfitmayhem qualified two teams for the #CrossFitGames. Those teams currently sit in first and second place. - Tomorrow morning when they take the field for TE3, @crossfitmayhemfreedom and CrossFit Mayhem Independence will be in lanes next to each other. - “That’s what we want,” says @richfroning of CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. - “That’s how we do it every day.” - Froning describes the teams’ performance on day one as “solid.” - “The rings became damage control on event two,” he says. - Many other teams cited the same issue as they exited the competition floor. The wind outside made it difficult for athletes to grab the rings and stay synchronized on their muscle-ups. - “Nobody forecasted for that.” - “Day two is gonna be fun,” Froning adds. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @antlucicphotography #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 2, 2018 at 7:03pm PDT
Last night, for IE4, athletes rowed a full marathon—42,195 meters. - Upon finishing, many athletes immediately laid on the ground. Others could barely walk out of the Coliseum. - You would expect this morning’s aftermath to be even worse. - But, @tiaclair1 was up and at it today, seemingly unfazed she completed a marathon less than 12 hours ago. - “I’m feeling great after day one!” says Toomey over breakfast. - “Coming into the Games, I didn’t know it was going to be a row,” she adds. “But, I had a feeling it was going to be some sort of marathon.” - “I am really happy about how I pulled up this morning.” - We’re not sure other athletes would say the same. Perhaps that’s why Toomey is the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth. - Toomey is sitting in second place after the first day. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 2, 2018 at 8:23am PDT
Longtime friends @anniethorisdottir and @katrintanja performed the marathon row on rowers next to one another. - “I tried to talk to Katrin but she didn’t reply,” says Annie. - “I said ‘We’re doing so good, Katrin. Tell me we’re doing good.’” - “You said that?” asks Davidsdottir. “I couldn’t hear you.” - “Having her next to me was the best,” Davidsdottir continues. “It just brings me comfort.” - Both women finished the marathon row in the top five. Thorisdottir took third and Davidsdottir took fifth. - Thorisdottir “didn’t think it was that bad.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @antlucicphotography #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 1, 2018 at 7:08pm PDT
@esslingerlukas was the first athlete to finish the marathon row. - @pvellner rounded out the top five, finishing fifth. - “That’s one of those things I never would’ve done had if not been for the CrossFit Games,” said Vellner. - “Agreed,” said @colesager35, who took third. - “Are there golf carts to drive us back to where our stuff is?” Vellner asks a volunteer. - “Seriously, though, someone please drive us. We can’t walk.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @antlucicphotography #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 1, 2018 at 6:47pm PDT
“Tell Dave I’ll let him know for sure if this was the hardest day one once that marathon row is done,” says @bsmit13. - And Smith would know. - This is his tenth Games. He’s completed more ‘day one’s’ than any other individual male in the competition. - “I wanted to get off the rower and stretch when we did the half marathon,” he adds. Smith is one of the few athletes in the field who completed the half marathon row at the 2013 #CrossFitGames. - What does he think the key to success will be? - “Gotta just stay in my own head. It’s mental.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 1, 2018 at 1:30pm PDT
IE1 is underway for the women. They began the race with a rolling start led by Dave Castro. - Moments before the women took the starting line, Castro greeted them in the warm-up area. - “Dave, no cool hair this year? No highlights?” joked @emilybridgers. - Castro smiled. - “I turned 40,” he said. “Once I turned 40, all that had to be done.” - “Now you just wear visors,” said @brookewellss, erupting the rest of the women into laughter. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @antlucicphotography #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Aug 1, 2018 at 6:50am PDT
Last night at this time, Dave Castro revealed to athletes that IE4 would be a marathon row. - Tonight at 6:55pm, Castro met with Greg Hammond of @concept2inc to finalize the event specifics. - “Do you want the athletes to start behind the rower or on the seat?” asked @concept2greg. - “I don’t know,” Castro replied. “How do marathon rows normally go?” - “They don’t,” Hammond responded. “You’re the only one who does it.” - Tomorrow should be fun. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:27pm PDT
@crossfitmayhemfreedom was the final team to come through team registration today. - Right now, Chuck Carswell is briefing the teams on TE1, which consists of the BikeErg and team deadlifts. - The Demo Team tested the event yesterday, as Dave Castro and Carswell watched from the sidelines. - “It’s deceivingly hard,” said Demo Team member @jessicaccoughlan. - Castro nodded. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @jordansamuelphoto
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 31, 2018 at 4:02pm PDT
Yesterday, Dave Castro joked with athletes about crashing on IE1. This morning, though, he told competitors, “We do want to set you up for success.” - To do so, he introduced the #CrossFitGames athletes to a group of professional riders who rode the full 10 lap Criterium course as the athletes watched on. The pros averaged 1:43 per lap. - Athletes are currently undergoing a one lap time trial to determine their start position for tomorrow’s event. - @pablochalfun was the first athlete to take the course for his time trial. - Before Chalfun starts, Castro goes over to him. “You feel comfortable?” Castro asks. “Be safe.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:16am PDT
“I told you Wednesday would be the hardest day one in history,” Dave Castro says to the individual athletes at their welcome dinner. - Moments before, Castro revealed to athletes that IE4 would be a marathon row. That’s 42,195 meters. - “This is my ninth Games, and yes, Dave’s right that this will definitely be the toughest day one I’ve seen yet,” says @anniethorisdottir. - “The row alone would probably make it the toughest.” - Thorisdottir is seated at a table with @katrintanja, @frederikaegidius and @bk_gudmundsson. None of them have rowed the marathon distance before. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok #CrossFitGames
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 30, 2018 at 5:26pm PDT
Since programming IE1, Dave’s taken some time to think about what it will take for an athlete to perform well in the CRIT. - “Most CrossFit events, you have a safe space, your own lane,” he says. “You get to own your space.” - “You don’t get that in the CRIT.” - “Having 40 athletes in one heat is like putting everyone’s barbells and dumbbells in one lane.” - “Maybe we should try that some time. That’d be fun.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @daniel.a.snaps
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 30, 2018 at 3:08pm PDT
@hosstremblay is the Captain of the Demo Team for the 2018 #CrossFitGames. Tremblay, and the seven other athletes on this year’s Demo Team, were hand-picked by Dave. - “It’s the next best thing to competing,” says Tremblay. “I’m the dad of the group. I get the orders from Dave and I relay them to the group.” - “It’s changed how I view the Games.” - Fellow Demo Team member @teamcarleen nods. - “You get a glimpse into Dave’s thinking,” she says. - “But you’ll never fully understand his thinking,” Tremblay laughs. - @CrossFitGames @Reebok
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 30, 2018 at 9:38am PDT
“IE1 is not a triathlon.” That’s Dave Castro’s opening line to athletes at the 2018 #CrossFitGames. - Event 1 is a Criterium, more commonly known as a CRIT. Athletes will complete 10 laps for time of a cycling circuit that has been set up at the Alliant Energy Center. - Castro’s advice to the competitors? “There is a high probability of crashing. Don’t crash.” - Later, as he greets @bridgesj3, Castro elaborates on his comments. - “I don’t really want you guys to crash,” he says. “You can’t crash this early. You haven’t seen the best stuff yet.” - @CrossFitGames @Reebok @trekbikes
A post shared by Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) on Jul 30, 2018 at 7:45am PDT