CrossFit HQ's Kelsey Krasnigor gets the dirty details from three-time Games athlete Dan Bailey.
It's 1 p.m. on a Friday. Her hair is swept up in a pretty ponytail and she wears a pea green floor-length skirt, a crisp white button-down shirt and tortoise shell sunglasses, looking like she just stepped out of a French film. She slides into the booth at the Ivy in Santa Monica, Calif. Her puppy, Dior, a poodle, snuggles in her lap.
Actually, it's more like he and I sit on a curb, while he nurses a protein shake, wearing a T-shirt and workout shorts. And instead of interviewing a world renown actress, I'm chatting with Dan Bailey. But hey, tomay-toe, tomah-toe, right? I mean, isn't that how all magazine articles about celebrities start? Whatever.
For the whole month of September, Dan Bailey has been in Santa Cruz, Calif., working out at CrossFit HQ and coaching classes three days a week. I have been suffering through some of the workouts (meaning complaining loudly, despite the fact that I have chosen to take his classes). In one of the first classes I took, there were too many people for the amount of ropes we had, so Dan told me to start a minute after everyone else, which was really completely unnecessary seeing as how I was going to naturally stagger. Once the clock started, I looked around and noticed that I was the only one to start later. Thanks a whole bunch, Dan.
To make the workout even worse, it was a hot day, so I was wearing shorts. This led to me receiving a serious case of the rope crotch burn, which is both attractive and comfortable. I'm clearly blaming him for my wounds and decide I want to know a bit more about the soft-spoken Dan Bailey. I mean, he's been using us as guinea pigs for his own workouts, so in my mind, I deserve answers to my questions. Payback, Mr. Bailey.
I begin my interview with the burning question on everyone's mind: "So, do people comment about you drooling a lot?" We are off to a great start. He politely informs me that although some have compared him to a racehorse, most don't comment about it much — just those who are socially inept, such as myself.
Then, since I'm so polite, I follow that question up with: "Whose house are you gonna go live in now?" Sorry Dan, this is what the people need to know. In case any of you reading don’t know, last year, Dan was in the midst of a Fromance and living with Rich Froning. But since Dan has graduated from Tennessee Tech with his master’s degree, he's been living the nomad life. He laughs at that and informs me that right now, most of his belongings are in a storage room in Cookesville, Tenn. Whatever else he needs (shit to workout in) is in his hotel room down the road. I ask him how being in Santa Cruz for a few months fits into his 2014 Games season, to which he tells me that he's doing his own thing and working out alone, "which is less stressful."
The crux of our conversation has to do with Games athletes turned CrossFitlebrities. It’s intriguing to me that Games athletes have become stars in our world. I want to be famous for lifting some heavy damn weights. Just kidding, I want to eat ice cream. I think I may or may not have said to him, "It's crazy that people want your autograph and to take pictures with you just for working out. Like, that's it. You're really good at working out." He tells me that the last time he came to Santa Cruz he was recognized in every single airport he went through. I would hate that, seeing as how I like to travel in what I like refer to as "hobo chic."
What I learned from Dan is that being a CrossFitlebrity has some serious perks, such as gyms all over the world asking him to come in and train there, lead classes, or talk. "Since the sport is so new, those opportunities change monthly and opened doors that you didn't think would be open," he says.
I tell Dan he could be one of those celebrities who gets paid just for showing up at clubs and events. There has to be an 8-year-old out there somewhere who needs a super fit guy for his birthday party. “Oh man, that should probably be my career,” he jokes. Who needs a master’s degree when you’ve got python arms?
I refrain from informing him this sounds a lot like my college years. And when I ask him about free stuff, he tells me, “I'm constantly getting free shirts,” which is really funny if you think about it considering he probably only spends 20 percent of his time working out in a shirt. We get it Dan, you're fit, now put your shirt back on.
"(Being a Games athlete) is both an honor and humbling because CrossFit has defined fitness, a Games athlete is at the pinnacle of the definition of fitness."
But as a Games athlete, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with the honor. He's aware that he's in the CrossFit public's eye (meaning he can't ‘Tonya Harding’ Rich Froning without all of us knowing about it), and that people will comment on your every move.
Fortunately for Dan, he's very polite and a good person, so he doesn't have much to worry about. Despite how hard I tried to get some gossip, Dan has only nice words to say about everyone. Damn it Dan, girl's gotta know the deets!
It has been great getting to know Dan more and gain insight on this CrossFitlebrity. It's clear that no matter how many times Dan goes in front of the camera or answers questions for an article, he'll never fully accept being a CrossFitlebrity. He sees himself as just a regular guy, who both enjoys and excels at working out.
"It's different now, if you're at a CrossFit event, you don't get much time to yourself because people want to talk with you and take pictures and you want to do that and meet everyone,” he says.
He loves being able to meet all kinds of people in the CrossFit community and feels privileged to be a part of it all. I don't know if Dan will ever be completely comfortable with the notion of being famous, whereas I would be all over that, then I could demand chocolate and bacon to be at every place I go.
I wonder if he can get me a discount on the Broflex.