Marianna Tzourtzek of Athens, Greece, took 7th place at the 2011 Europe Regional after two years of CrossFit training. In 2012, the former gymnast hopes to move up the Leaderboard and earn a chance to compete alongside the world’s fittest athletes at the CrossFit Games.
From a young age, Tzourtzek has been trained to strive for perfection. She started gymnastics at 4-years-old and was coached by “very strict trainers.” She says the experience helped develop her drive, determination, and desire for excellence.
As a kid, surrounded by elite gymnasts, Tzourtzek aspired to emulate and one day out perform them. Life, however, took her on a different path than she expected. After graduating from the Physical Education School in 2006 and later finding CrossFit, Tzourtzek’s attention shifted from gymnastics to fitness.
Living in a country with relatively few CrossFit boxes or competitive CrossFit athletes, Tzourtzek has found her best opponent to be herself. She trains by the motto: “Today is better than yesterday, tomorrow will be better than today.” By continuing to break her personal records, Tzourtzek found herself unexpectedly launched into the top of the European 2011 CrossFit Games Season competition.
Last year, Tzourtzek registered for the Open as a casual competitor. “I had told my coach, Andy McKenzie, my goal is only to participate in the Open for the experience,” she says.
Yet on the second week of the Open, Tzourtzek took 11th place in Europe. Two weeks later, she took 12th place on Open Workout 11.4. By the end of the Open, Tzourtzek was ranked 25th in Europe and given a chance to compete at the 2011 Europe Regional in Bolton, England.
Competing in the Reebok Bolton Stadium alongside Annie Thorisdottir and Sam Briggs was, at times, overwhelming. “Everything was different—a lot tougher,” Tzourtzek says.
On the last day of the Regional, Tzourtzek had reached her physical limit. She wasn’t able to do a single muscle-up during the fifth workout, “Amanda.” As many Regional competitors can attest, after the beat down of the past two days, muscle-ups disappeared. She closed the weekend in 7th place, and was determined for more in 2012.
Since last year, Tzourtzek has made solid progress in her training. She has devoted herself to developing her strength, focusing on Olympic lifting under the coaching of Greece’s Weightlifting National Team coach, Dimitris Iliadis. She has also been working on her gymnastic skills with another coach.
Tzourtzek feels better, faster, and stronger than last year. She trains two to three times per day and spends at least two hours per week working on her weaknesses, including muscle-ups.
Today is she fitter than last year, and she hopes that by giving her all she’ll finish higher on the Leaderboard in 2012.
Height: 5' 3"
Snatch: 60 kg
Clean & Jerk: 80 kg
Deadlift: 160 kg
Overhead squat: 80 kg
Front Squat: 100 kg
5K run: 22:22
Cindy: 27 rounds