"When I see that I'm getting stronger and faster all the time, I want to figure out how long I can keep that progress going."
This CrossFit Games Open is another step in a long progression for 22-year-old competitor Essi Koskinen of CrossFit Espoo in Espoo, Finland.
Her progression started two years ago in the 2010 Sectionals — the Open’s live competition equivalent. Koskinen was four weeks into her CrossFit training, but nonetheless willing to throwdown in front of the crowds. She took 5th out of six competitors, and quickly started preparing for 2011.
In 2011, Koskinen came back far fitter. Now competing with all of Europe—rather than a small sub-section—Koskinen took 23rd place overall in the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games Open and qualified for the Europe Regional.
She realized competition was fierce and she needed to improve before Regionals. This meant having a plan for the first time.
“About three months before the 2011 Regionals I started to follow a program,” she says. “Before that I always just did what I wanted to without really thinking if it's smart or not.”
In those three months, Koskinen focused on fixing her goats and went on to take 8th in the 2011 Europe Regional – not far behind some serious female CrossFit heavy hitters Annie Thorisdottir, Samantha Briggs and Jenny Jacobson. During Events 1 to 4, she was steady and consistent, even taking 5th place in the Run/HSPU/Row event, but it was the taxing combination of squat snatches and muscle ups in Amanda that tumbled her down the Leaderboard and out of serious contention.
To improve in CrossFit, one can’t simply learn a few tricks or develop a skill. A CrossFit athlete has to make sure they’re good at everything. Koskinen is curious how long her improvements will continue.
“After Regionals, I knew I had to push harder in everything. I noticed that I had to be stronger and improve my technique,” she admits. “When I see that I'm getting stronger and faster all the time, I want to figure out how long I can keep that progress going."
Her development has reached the point where she is a powerful athlete, deadlifting more than double bodyweight, clean and jerking 10 kg over bodyweight, and holds impressive 2:13 and 8:14 times for Grace and DT, respectively. “I really want to see where the point is that I'm not improving my athletic performance anymore,” Koskinen says.
But that point has not yet arrived. Currently sitting 28th in Europe after 12.4, she is on target to qualify again for the Europe Regional despite the massive growth in the amount and quality of the competition within the region.
“I wasn't very happy when I first saw 12.1 and 12.2,” she says. “Burpees and snatches have never been my favorites, but I still managed to do OK in them.”
She says she’d like to see some heavy deadlifts, cleans or handstand push-ups in the final Open Workout.
Koskinen doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. “I enjoy training hard. I love it. I'm so used to train that it has become a way of life for me. If I wasn't training at all I have no idea what I'd be doing instead.”