“This year, she’s been on a mission not to just qualify for the Games, but to win Regionals and secure her spot on the podium."
Tiffany Hendrickson’s decision to compete in this year’s Regionals as an individual instead of as part of a team paid off.
She finished the Open in fifth place and went on to finish first at the South West Regional, securing her a spot at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games. This will be Hendrickson’s third year competing and first time qualifying for the Games.
Hendrickson placed seventh at the 2011 South West Regional and fifth at last year’s Regional. She knew she had to change her mindset in her training this year to go even further.
“There were days where, instead of forcing it, I just decided to walk away and that’s completely not my personality,” she says. “It’s more important for me to feel healthy and even more than that, to have more ambition and to have that burning in my belly instead of feeling fatigued and burnt out before you even get there, before you even get to the main event. I think that’s a little how I felt before Regionals last year.”
Hendrickson finished in the top four in all seven of this year’s Regional Events, but it was the first event, where she placed second in the region, that boosted her confidence.
“Rowing is hard for me because I’m shorter, so I had some anxiety with that, but coming off second in the (event), that just created this excitement in my belly,” she says. “I was least looking forward to that workout and to come out second. I was like, ‘OK, that was a good start!’”
Things continued to look up for Hendrickson from there as she placed first in the next event and held her steady first place overall through the entire week.
Her coach, Damon Stewart, was proud and excited for her when he received the news she had qualified for the Games.
“This year was about redemption for Tiffany. In 2012, she trained like a professional athlete, then dislocated two ribs on the dumbbell snatch and stayed in the competition to finish fifth despite my recommendation to withdraw,” Stewart says. “This year, she’s been on a mission not to just qualify for the Games, but to win Regionals and secure her spot on the podium. The most impressive thing about Tiffany as an athlete is her ability to stay focused despite adversity. She’s also a mother of three!”
Hendrickson’s experience at Regionals the last two years has made her come to terms with the possibility that things may not work out no matter what her strategy is or how hard she works. She says this mindset has helped her to be excited about competing without the fear that everything could fall apart.
Hendrickson is heading to the Games with this mindset, but she is also full of determination to get the best outcome possible for her first year competing at the Games.
“I don’t want to just show up and feel it out. I’m really ambitious and I’m really hoping that I’ll have a strong finish this year,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ve gotten to the point of my confidence yet to declare where I want to be in the finish when everything is said and done, but I guess the bottom line is knowing that I did everything I could in that moment and that I was smart in my performances and that I was fully invested and just allowed myself to go for it, regardless of what everybody else does. I think I can come away satisfied and happy with that. Another goal is to be able to enjoy the moment.”