Article

The Only Way to Play: Ronald Thomas

Published on Wed, 2013-04-03 07:53
By: 
Josh Bunch

Had he been under the lights in St. Charles, Mo., for the live announcement of Open Workout 13.4, he would have finished in a dead tie with 2010 CrossFit Games champion Graham Holmberg.

Photos by: Heather O. Thomas

 

If you haven’t checked the stats of the top Masters competitors, get to your Leaderboard. These athletes aren’t just kicking ass in their divisions, they’re kicking ass in the Individual competition, as well.

Take Ronald Thomas, for example. The 46-year-old father of four is in first place in the 45-49 Division, and 77th in the Individual competition in the Central East.

Just a few days ago, he completed 102 reps on 13.4. Had he been under the lights in St. Charles, Mo., for the live announcement of Open Workout 13.4, he would have finished in a dead tie with 2010 CrossFit Games champion Graham Holmberg.

With a 97-point lead over the 20th ranked man in his division, you would think he’d have booked his flight to Carson, Calif. But Thomas isn’t that kind of competitor. To him, nothing is certain until the competition is over.

“You can’t ever have a feeling of self-assurance,” he says.

His competition isn’t based on where you live. It’s based on when you were born.

“You have to view it in context with the world,” he says.

Similar to Fittest Man on Earth Rich Froning, Thomas is riding high because of his consistency. Over the last four workouts, he has never won, but he has also never dropped lower than 11th. His track record so far includes second (168 reps on 13.1), third (313 reps on 13.2), 11th (256 reps on 13.3) and sixth (102 reps on 13.4).

He has turned in solid performances, and while he’s aiming for live competition, he doesn’t look down on a redo. If he thinks he could have done better, he goes again. For him, that’s an important part of the game.

“If you haven’t given it your all, you have to go back and try again,” he says.

2013 is his comeback year.

Last season, Thomas took second in his division in the Open only to be cut after the fifth event at the Games (he took 15th overall). He just wasn’t prepared for the big show, he says.

“It was a humbling experience,” he says. “Some of the workouts ... I just didn’t attack them with ferocity.”

Throughout the offseason, he has been training hard for the Games. He knows he has more to give, and now he’s determined to prove it.

He has supplemented his training at CrossFit New Albany with twice per week sessions with Masters competitors at CrossFit Future. He attributes the majority of his successes this season to the accountability that the other “like-minded Masters athletes” asked of him.

From the start, the group got together and figured out what they needed to work on.

“We sat down as a group and wrote down our weaknesses,” he says. “We have worked on them every week since.”

One shared weakness: Olympic weightlifting.

“You can’t show up at the Games and be an incompetent Olympic lifter,” he says.

A typical training session with his group of Masters competitors includes every-minute-on-the-minute clean and jerks, snatches, jerks or snatch balances. Often, they’ll add weight at each interval. Other days, they focus on standard strength training such as deadlifts or back squats, and go at it with a relaxed pace.

After strength training, they’ll hit a met-con.

“You have to be good at the basic stuff,” he says.

For now, all Thomas can do is wait for the announcement of the final workout. If all goes well, he’ll earn a chance to redeem himself at the Games.

“Everyone wants to stand on the podium,” he says. “I want to be a legitimate Games competitor.”

 

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