“Getting another chance to prove myself at the Games has motivated me to work through my injury. I did not perform as well as I wanted to last year and the only way to make up for it is to make it there again.”
Last September, Danish athlete Frederik Aegidius was invited to participate in the first-ever CrossFit Invitational in London. There, he would join five top European CrossFit athletes in a team competition against the top American CrossFit athletes.
Aegidius started CrossFit in 2010 at Butcher’s Lab in Copenhagen, but is now spending most of his time at CrossFit Reykjavík, where he trains with two-time Games champion, Annie Thorisdottir.
“We are training together every day, often several times a day,” he says. “We have five days a week with two-a-days, one day with lighter recovery work and a full rest day out of the gym.”
When it came to the Invitational, there was no question as to whether or not he would participate.
“I immediately said yes,” he recalls.
Less than one week before the Invitational, Aegidius herniated a disc in his lower back during a training session and was forced to withdraw from the competition.
“I hoped for a speedy recovery, but I had to pull the plug Wednesday morning after consulting my physiotherapist,” he explains. “It's one of those injuries that will haunt you if you don't allow it time to heal up properly.”
Tuomas Vaino, who has also battled with injury in the past, quickly stepped in for Aegidius. But Team USA had the edge and walked away with the first CrossFit Invitational title.
“I was very disappointed,” Aegidius says. “The chance to compete against the best of the U.S. with some of my good friends isn't something that comes along everyday. I went to London and helped out as much as I could, but it was hard to watch from the sidelines.”
The setback has not stopped Aegidius from working toward his goals for 2013. He has returned to training and has Regionals and the Games in his sights.
“Getting another chance to prove myself at the Games has motivated me to work through my injury,” Aegidius explains. “I did not perform as well as I wanted to last year and the only way to make up for it is to make it there again.”
Although Aegidius had to scale back his weights, the injury gave him the opportunity to hone his gymnastics movements, and work on his efficiency and endurance, something he acknowledges will need to improve if he makes it to the Games again.
“I have gotten a green light to test my back, meaning I can load it as much as I want, without pain, but I have to be patient with my progress,” he says. “I still struggle with muscle-ups and deficit handstand push-ups, so those are my main priority right now.”
“I have spent a lot of time jumping, crawling, pushing and throwing, which is helping to get back to my old self,” he adds.
He knows he is not fully recovered, but is confident he will be ready to take on whatever the next few months have in store for him.
“I am hoping that my recovery will allow me to get close to where I was last year, and that Regionals will be heavy and technical again this year,” he says. “I will do everything I can to be at my best come game day. That is all you can do.”
The competition Aegidius will face in Europe will be tough with many of the best European athletes competing this year, such as Mikko Salo, Tuomas Vainio, Elvar Karlsson, Lacee Kovacz and Mikko Aronpaa. Aegidius is also looking out for athletes who are new to the Games.
“Nick Rouse and a number of other athletes from the UK are showing great promise,” he says. “These are young, talented guys who stand a good chance at making Regionals a very tight race right up until the last WOD finishes.”
Aegidius advises other athletes working through injury to listen to their body.
“Rebuilding confidence in yourself is important, but you can't rush the process. Be smart. You don't want to push too hard, too early, and end up fighting the injury for longer. Get healthy, then get your game back.”