Finding Her Happy Place: Litsa Olsson

Published on Sat, 2013-07-20 06:00
Tarynn Swobody

“To me, CrossFit is ... a way of life! Where else do you get to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of themselves and others? Every day I am inspired and grateful.”


For most, adulthood comes with many responsibilities and demands. It’s easy to get into what is referred to as a “rut” or “middle-aged funk.” When life gets heavy with work, bills, soccer practice and more, things such as health get put on the back burner.

Someone who knows all about this issue is Litsa Olsson. Active all through her youth, she found herself mid life, depressed and overweight.

At 51, Olsson is not your average competitor. Hailing from west Seattle, she found a home with CrossFit Marysville in 2011. Previously, she had been a gymnast until the age of 18 and since has been trying different sports and forms of working out to stay in shape and strong. Nothing was a good fit, however, until there was intervention from a friend, Christine Josok.

“For my 50th birthday she bought me CrossFit,” Olsson says.

Olsson demonstrated athleticism in CrossFit movements such as handstands and rope climbs from the beginning. Olympic lifts came easily to her and she committed to making CrossFit a way of life.

“To me, CrossFit is way more than exercise and a fitness program, it’s a way of life! Where else do you get to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of themselves and others? Every day I am inspired and grateful.”

Quickly, Olsson became very involved. She won her very first local competition and was hooked.

“(There was) no one in my age group, so I kind of got first,” she says.

After earning her Level 1 and CrossFit Kids certificates, in May of 2012, she began her coaching career. She teaches the kids courses at CrossFit Marysville where they call her Coach Pizza.

In 2012, Olsson participated in her first Open where she placed 55th in her age group worldwide. That same year, she went to the Games as a spectator and was mesmerized by the Masters athletes.

This year will be a much different story. After spending time perfecting the art of competing, Olsson finished the Open in 15th place in the world in the 50-54 Division and earned an official invitation to participate in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Masters Competition. She achieved high scores through the Open by relying on her strengths in the Olympic lifts. Olsson is armed with a 160-lb. clean and jerk and a 100-lb. snatch. She also has a 2:57 Grace and a back squat of 270 lbs. and excels in gymnastic movements like handstand walks.

CrossFit has taken Olsson to a much different space in her life. One in which she refers to as her “happy place.”

“Every time I come in that door, I leave everything negative outside,” Olsson says.

As a first-time competitor to the Games, Olsson along with her family, friends and community are ecstatic. Workouts are daily and she is taking active rest days on Thursdays and Sundays, where she will do mobility, stretching and running.

She attributes much of her success to her training partner Elissa Knolla, her coaches at CFM and CJ Martin for his CrossFit Invictus workouts, which she used in training for the Open and will continue with in preparation for the Games.

CrossFit and competing have become an important part of Olsson’s life. She says she no longer feels her age and puts forth her best effort in all aspects of life and CrossFit.

“When I was young, I always thought I would go to the Olympics as a gymnast. Since I didn’t, I always knew I was going to do something like this even if it was when I am an old lady!”


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