Do you know the history of the CrossFit Games? It’s pretty amazing how much it has evolved. The 2015 season was the ninth CrossFit Games. Although I’ve heard great stories and wish I could’ve been a part of ushering in a new era of fitness competitions, sadly I was not a part of all the grassroots games competition back in 2007 when they were hosted at the Aromas Ranch for the first three years (2007-2009). My journey didn’t begin until 2010.
2007 – About 70 athletes gathered in Aromas, CA. The first workout was drawn by founder Greg Glassman out of a hopper. Colored balls with exercises were randomly picked out to create the kick off “workout of unknowns”. Individuals were crowned and our amazing coach, Nichole DeHart, placed 3rd overall for the women. The winner of the team affiliate cup was decided by virtue of the placements of members in the individual events and Santa Cruz took home the title.
2008 – The Games exploded with 300 athletes and over 800 spectators. There was still no actual team competition and the affiliate cup winner, again, was crowned by combined individual efforts.
2009 – CrossFit marks 2009 as the global explosion of the sport. There were regional qualifiers held in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Iceland, Asia, Australia and Africa, as well as online. It was a spectator event with over 4,000 fans filling bleachers to watch 150 athletes compete and this was the first year there were actual team events.
My First Year
2010 – This is where my road began. Instead of an online Open competition like there is today, “Sectionals” were hosted around the country. My Sectional was hosted in Colorado. Workouts were created by each Regional Director and there was no unified standard across the Sectional competitions. Eight teams went to Games from my sectional. We just snuck in at number eight. It was my first Games and the first year in Carson, CA (sponsored by UnderArmour). My team, sadly, bowed out on day one of the competition. It was a quick, yet memorable experience and it increased my desire to return to the Games the next year.
2011 – Sectionals was moved online for the whole world to participate in and it was referred to as “the Open”. This was the first year of true Regionals competition with every workout around the world being the same, developed and run by CrossFit. I was in the North Central Region, competing with CF Valley Park. We took 1st in our Region as a team and wow! What a wonderful ride! I was heading back to the Games! This was the first year of Reebok sponsorship and the introduction of uniforms and it was a whirlwind of events. We slid out of contention for a spot on the podium when the field was cut to six teams for the final event. We ended our season in 8th place at Games.
The first two years of team competition (2010-2011) were quite different than they are now. You could have more specialists on your team. We had a really strong female, a solid gymnast and myself, a utility. The workouts allowed for teams to move athletes around to best fit the workout, and all workouts did not necessarily involve all six members.
2012 – This was my first year competing as an individual at Regionals. Our team had disbanded because of jobs and moves so I was left to travel the road alone. Playing team sports my whole life (waterpolo, soccer, softball), I wasn’t really excited about being an individual. My Mom had always said I give more when others are counting on me and she may have been right. I learned a lot about myself that weekend, finishing 8th in the North Central Region. I had a really rough first day of competition, finishing in 25th place. I was so focused on what everyone around me was doing that I had no energy to spend believing in myself. I regrouped that evening and I was reminded that I had to stay in MY lane, focus on MY game and MY strengths, and not worry about everyone else around me. In the next two days I was able to move myself up the leaderboard to 8th. I learned first hand that I can only control myself, my actions and my effort.
2013 – This year I coached and was part of Team CrossFit ICE in the North Central Region. It was a different experience for me than it had been in the past. I took on a lot of responsibility coaching the team while also being a member, which I wouldn’t recommend. For anyone on a team, it’s always a better idea to get a coach off the team. I learned a lot but it was also a lot more stressful. In the end we had a blast but we were just shy of going to the Games, finishing 5th overall at Regionals.
2014 – In October of 2013, I moved to SoCal to be part of the Invictus team, coach, and compete. I was excited to learn more about being a competitive athlete. In April, after the Open, I was given the chance to be part of the Invictus team and we took 1st at the SoCal Regionals. It was amazing. What a blessing and honor it was to be part of the Sea of Green community. At Games, we battled through to be crowned the Fittest Affiliate in the World! No words can describe the rollercoaster ride. We were the fittest affiliate! It is still surreal.
2015 – The Super Regionals competition were created this year bringing SoCal and NorCal together and taking the top five teams to the Games. I was, again, blessed to be part of the Invictus team. It was another year for me to improve, learn and represent. We took 4th at Regionals despite some challenges. We never wavered in determination to make one of the qualifying spots.There was a lot more hype this year regarding the team competition than there had been in years past because some well known individual Games athletes had made the switch to compete on a team. We felt prepared and ready to take on anyone. We had trained hard and pushed ourselves to new limits.
The week of the Games, however, was rough. None of us had ever been so sore or tried so hard. Sadly, but proudly, we ended our season in 13th place.
I’m very thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had over the course of my six seasons. Every team, every journey, and every CrossFit season brings new highs and lows, new challenges and a new sense of determination. It brings new unknowns and new growth but always and forever are the memories.