"The venue, the sound of the crowd in the stands, the anticipation to begin, was the most incredible, positive thing I have had a chance to experience."
When Jet City CrossFit learned they were going to the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games, the athletes were excited to say the least.
Team captain Andrew Gray initially found himself asking, ‘Is this a joke?’
With less than a month until the Games, the team was contacted and invited to compete at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
When asked if he remained focused during the weeks following Regionals in case of a situation like this, Gray laughed.
“Heck no. In fact, the team teased me about my beer and cupcakes post-Regionals diet,” he says. “We did continue to focus on our personal areas, taking what we learned from Regionals and keeping our head in the game and getting better everyday. Yeah, the diet thing may have hurt us a little, but we really didn’t miss anything as far as training goes.”
Gray has spent the last three years in the North West with Jet City. This is the second year in a row he and teammates Annie Olson and Ryan Calkins will be headed to the Games with the team. It will be a first time experience for the remaining five members.
When the Regionals started, Jet City went back to training without the intense focus on competing. The competition season was long for the team. By the time the North West Regional came around, the team had trained specifically for the posted workouts for nearly seven weeks.
“It was stressful to be constantly doing the workouts. You do get mentally tired of it,” Gray says. “It was a blessing to be able to relax and turn my head off for a little bit.”
The team worked hard to be on the podium at the Regionals, but they were happy with the chance to unwind and regroup for next year.
Then came the unexpected call. Team Jet City embraced the opportunity to represent the North West at the Games.
New team member Dave Shephard has trained at Jet City for just more than a year. He says the opportunity relates well to what he does as an officer with the U.S. Army Rangers. “I choose to be an example and demonstrate a commitment to being fit, to be ready for whatever you may be called on to do,” he explains. “It has helped me continue to also develop my leadership and provide that example for the younger soldiers I lead.”
Team member Ryan Calkins says: “I’m reminded of the quote from Thomas Jefferson: ‘I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.’”
Margaux Chan is excited about her first go at the Games. She has been a part of Jet City CrossFit for a little more than six months. In December, minor surgery made her question if she could even compete in the Open.
Just before Regionals, Chan accomplished her first muscle-up and proved to be key in the team’s finish for the final heat, completing a third of the required 22 muscles-ups and achieving her personal best. “For me, CrossFit competing is just such a soul-baring experience,” she says.
Gray says he remembers the amazing feeling from last year’s Games. “The venue, the sound of the crowd in the stands, the anticipation to begin, was the most incredible, positive thing I have had a chance to experience,” he says.
This year, new team members including Chan, Shephard, David Howe, Chelsea Jung and Megan Keyes are looking for the same experience.
For Jet City CrossFit, the opportunity to compete at the Games is a privilege they don’t take lightly.