"CrossFit changed my life completely, both on a physical and psychological level ..."
Photos by: Fernando Carvalho
After practicing CrossFit for almost four years, Vivian Sakamoto is no rookie.
She is well known in the Brazilian CrossFit community as an athlete and one of the partners of the fourth affiliated box in Brazil, CrossFit Jundiaí. There are already 36 affiliated boxes in Brazil.
“CrossFit changed my life completely, both on a physical and psychological level, as I became more confident and much more prepared for the physical and emotional challenges in my life,” Sakamoto says.
Sakamoto started practicing CrossFit on her own, at her home garage gym, after discovering the sport through online videos. Having worked as a personal trainer for more than eight years, she dropped all other training methods and now dedicates herself exclusively to CrossFit.
After one year training from home, watching videos online and periodically training at affiliate CrossFit Brasil — the only box in Brazil then — Sakamoto decided to participate in a local competition in Brazil and placed third. She then, signed up for the 2012 Open and tied for 30thin the region. Heading straight to the 2012 Latin America Regional, Sakamoto placed an unexpected second place.
After the close of 13.3, Sakamoto sits in 19th place on the Latin America Leaderboard. She scored a 151 in 13.1 showing she can at least move that third weight on snatches, nine full rounds on 13.2 for a score of 270 reps, and two muscle-ups on 13.3 for a score of 242.
She has expectations to make it to Regionals this year. She says she believes one of the most important aspects of making it to Regionals, besides the competition itself, is the experience to learn from athletes all over Latin America and exchange knowledge and information.
“I face the competition as a fun and challenging learning experience. My dream is to make it to the Games, but I still have a lot to learn to make it there,” Sakamoto says.
She adds: “The spirit of community that revolves around CrossFit is amazing. In other sports, you are competing for yourself and your supporters are your family or friends. In CrossFit, you get support from your fellow competitors. This is absolutely incredible, to see a community that is so united that, although you may be competing for the same spot, other athletes are cheering for you. Your main opponent is yourself and there is no limit to what we can do.”
Sakamoto believes that, although CrossFit is a newer sport in Brazil, the Brazilian athletes are becoming more technical, training with better coaches and will have the opportunity to improve a lot through the coming years.
“A lot of athletes in Brazil and Latin American in general feel that their technical level is not enough to compete with other, more advanced athletes from other regions,” she says. “My advice is that the experience is what matters the most in this case. The chance to learn from other athletes will make us grow, regardless of not having enough strength to lift RX’d weight or enough technique to complete a given movement.”
“I believe that next year we should have at least one Brazilian athlete competing at the Games.”