"This year, I am going team. I am going to help them as much as possible, and I'll actually be able to focus on what I love, which is coaching my athletes."
Christian Ӧman has made it to the podium of CrossFit Games Africa Regional twice. In 2013 however, he may not compete as effectively as in previous years.
Recent injuries, as well as a bike accident have set Ӧman’s plans astray.
“The initial injury was in my neck where the disc is bulging out in different directions. A heavy strength cycle probably started it, and then a dropped snatch last October was the last nail in the coffin just before a local fitness competition in Durban. I still competed with my team and managed to get us pretty far regardless.”
During rehabilitation for his neck injury, a week after a local fitness event in Cape Town and three weeks before the Open, Ӧman had a bike accident.
“I lost control of my scooter and drove in to into a wall. I guess I was very lucky because, at the speed I was going, my body couldn’t really take the impact. I hit it sideways and that is probably what saved me because I didn’t break anything. I don’t remember if there were other cars or if I was spooked because I got knocked out. I hit my head against the wall. I remember losing control, I remember hitting the wall and the next thing I remember is someone holding my head telling me to lie still because they could see the bone in my knee,” he explains.
“I sustained two injuries. One was the knee that took a big hit in the collision, but luckily nothing was broken. Only had to stitch it all together with loads of stitches as the wound was pretty deep. The doctor told me that they had to scrape the skin off the bone.
“The second one was my back and shoulder. I landed on the exhaust and it burnt through my skin quite badly. They had to do a graft on my right shoulder and also pull the skin off the scapula and up to cover my traps. It is still a process to gain full mobility in the joints again, but like said I was very lucky to not break anything.”
Despite the setbacks, Ӧman is optimistic.
“I think I could have pushed myself to a good position at Regionals, but I may have pushed myself too hard and possibly made those injuries worse. This is life’s way of telling me I must make myself 100 percent healthy and build it from the ground again to become a better athlete.”
Ӧman received support from the community following the scooter accident and says he feels the best way to give back would be to come back as a better athlete.
“I need to get back to payback for the support that I got from the community, which was mainly from, but not only, our box. I got support on many levels, way more than anyone could expect and that helped a lot and I think that made me realize that they gave so much to me that I needed to come back quickly to give back to them as well.
The challenges have shifted Ӧman’s focus for this season.
“This year, I am going team. I am going to help them out as much as possible and I’ll actually be able to focus on what I love, which is coaching my athletes. At the same time, I’ll be taking care of my own body to get as healthy as possible. If my body responds well and I feel strong thereafter, I know that I have another year to go before I can aim for the title,” he says.
“I set a goal for myself three years ago to be the fittest man in Africa and that’s why I do want to win. I was close enough twice. It’s a great honour to compete with athletes at that level and I will be back up there in 2014.”