Ask Denny Hawkins what he did before he found CrossFit and he’ll laugh. “I had been doing P90X for two years,” Hawkins says. “A friend of mine talked me into trying CrossFit. My first three workouts were Angie, Fran, then Elizabeth.”
After putting in a solid 18 months of hard work at CrossFit Northwest Arkansas, Hawkins qualified for the Masters 55-59 Division at the CrossFit Games. “That’s what’s so good about CrossFit. Where else can a 58-year-old guy be competitive at something?” he asks.
Having placed 7th overall at the Games last year, Hawkins was simply hoping to return to Carson, Calif., to compete this year. “My expectation going into the Open was just to go back to the Games.”
After taking 1st in the entire world this Open season, looks like he’s going to get that opportunity.
The 2012 CrossFit Games will also be an opportunity for redemption for Hawkins. Due to a miscalculation, he ended up running into the concrete stadium wall during the final event in 2011. “I swear I thought that wall was padded” Hawkins laughs. “I’ll never forget what place I finished in. I needed seven stitches in my forehead, and I took 7th place.”
You could hear the regret in his voice as he reminisced. “While all the other guys were out there high-fiving and congratulating each other, I was under the stadium getting medical attention.”
His focus this season has been developing better mobility. Having broken his arm twice in his lifetime, he’s left with limited shoulder mobility. “When I first started CrossFit, back squats came up and I couldn’t grab the bar. That’s how bad it was,” he says.
He also got a lot of no-reps at the 2011 Games for his squats not being deep enough. “I’m just getting old,” Hawkins jokes. “You just start to break down and get arthritis in your hips. I’ve been working on my squats all year because I definitely don’t want any more no reps.”
It’s safe to assume he also doesn’t want more stitches.
Hawkins says many positive things come from the CrossFit Community. “CrossFit is a great thing. A lot of people call us a cult, but it’s a good cult. I’m sure wherever you’re at, you see the best of it.”