The coolest thing I've seen in the Open is a 15-year-old getting no-repped.
The very same teenager just two weeks prior told me she didn’t have to do P.E. at school anymore. Substitutions for P.E. were allowed.
Small for her age, barely twice as tall as the 20-inch box she was stepping on for 14.3, she brushed her long black hair away from her almond eyes to see her coach telling her she was doing it wrong.
The dark-skinned girl looked like she was listening to a stranger giving her directions in another language. Kindly but quickly, her coach mimicked the movement, extending her hips violently and pointing at her rigid knees.
Behind her, a masters athlete peeled off 15 box jumps and the crowd cheered. Her judge stayed calm, but her mom sprang from her seat and quickly made her way to the caution tape surrounding the competition floor. Her mom gnawed at her finger as she watched her daughter get no-repped.
“One,” the coach finally said with a smile that grew by the rep.
It took 15 step-ups and nine no reps for the teenager’s confusion to turn into determination.
When she got back to the barbell to deadlift she didn't tug at the cuff of her shorts or stretch at the bottom of her shirt like she normally did. She didn’t survey the crowd or look at her mom for approval either; she added weight and pulled. She didn’t get no-repped again.
At 6:34, she moved past the masters-aged man behind her, and caught the blonde woman in front of her. The one with legs like telephone poles that loves to deadlift.
The teen pulled her third deadlift in the round of 25s just three seconds before the time cap.
Soon, everyone was on the floor, except the teen. Almost beaming, standing amidst the destruction like something out of a Suzanne Collins novel, the teen walked to the PR bell hanging on the wall and rang it like she was mad at it.
The crowd went ballistic and her mom finally broke and showed a toothy smile.
Three days later, the same girl who was once excited that she didn’t have to get sweaty at school anymore, got her first kipping pull-up and rang the bell again.
Gym is dead. Long live the Open.