“Eric is an incredibly hardworking and gifted athlete, with an almost obsessive desire to finish whatever program that is given to him."
Amidst a sea of steely faces, Eric Carmody’s neon Mohawk steals the show.
Originally symbolic of his newfound freedom from the shackles of corporate life, Carmody’s iconic look is now also representative of his quiet defiance on the field. After his somewhat disappointing finish at the South East Regional last year, Carmody returns more formidable than ever.
Seven thousand miles away from home, Carmody shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, having taken third in his debut performance in the Asia Region after the Open.
Last October, Carmody jumped at the opportunity to coach CrossFit full time and never looked back. It was a leap that took him across continents, finding the ex-software developer in Seoul, Korea.
“(It was) easily the best decision I’ve made,” Carmody said. “I took a risk and it worked out. I'm grateful for that every day.”
Having placed sixth in the Open last year in the South East Region, news of Carmody’s arrival in Asia was quick to turn heads.
“With Carmody and (Mikko) Aronpää in the mix, the field is definitely deeper this year,” said Michael Mogard, 2013 Asia Regional champion. “And if neither of them win a ticket to the Games, it’ll really start to prove the rising competitiveness in the Asia Region.”
Serious training and competition aside, the Mohawk can now be spotted navigating the streets of Seoul with ease. The same could not be said when the 5-foot-11 athlete first began adjusting to life in Korea.
“The ideal body image in Korea is a skinny body, even for men,” Carmody explained. “Cardio and abs are top priority here. I think CrossFit is doing well to help change that, but there will always be gyms where people will go and just walk on a treadmill for an hour. Some people do not like that CrossFit is making them bigger, as well. I have a hard time sympathizing with that idea.”
Carmody’s main role at CrossFit Sentinel was to revamp and update the current training and coaching methodologies—a task he was familiar with from his time at CrossFit Impulse as a part-time coach—with the added caveat of serving more than 2,500 members across five separate branches of Reebok CrossFit Sentinel. That is 25 times more people than the Alabama box.
Despite the size of the crowd, Carmody confessed to having a hard time connecting with the local interpretation of CrossFit culture.
“In Korea, many members come in loving the WOD; they kick ass and have a good time,” he said. “But after they leave the gym, they will smoke a cigarette outside. Same thing with diet—in the states, people are generally pretty serious with diet, but in Korea, CrossFit ends outside the gym for most people.”
As a result, the disciplined athlete finds himself preparing most of his meals at home and training alone, following the programming of his long-time coach, Jeff Barnett.
“Eric is an incredibly hardworking and gifted athlete, with an almost obsessive desire to finish whatever program that is given to him,” Barnett said, recounting Carmody’s impressive 225-lb. back squat on his virgin experience with a barbell.
“I just want to walk away knowing that I have absolutely no regrets,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t get to say that. This year, I want to make sure I’ve done everything in my ability to be at my best.”
Expectations ride high on the shoulders of the ex-collegiate football player this season, but staying true to the spirit of the Mohawk, Carmody will be stepping into the stadium unrattled and ready to rumble.