Games competitor, Michele Letendre, has a stunt double.
Her twin, Ericka Letendre, is competing in her first Open, and doing well: she scored 174 reps on 13.1.
Ericka began doing CrossFit in February 2012. She didn’t start because she wanted to work out or get in better shape.
“I started for a school research paper,” she says. “I was writing an ethnography assignment on how CrossFit redefines our currently accepted view of athletic culture, that our society’s perception of gender in the world of sports is de-constructible and the world of fitness itself can be more gender neutral. I had to do participant observation. I just never stopped.”
The two sisters now train together every morning, even though they have very different goals.
“I started training with Michele because she needed someone to train with her in the morning,” Ericka says. “Her program calls for three training sessions per day and she can only get it done if she gets her first main training session at 6 a.m. I noticed her morale was low and her training was suffering, so I volunteered to come in at 6.”
One benefit for Ericka is that she gets to follow Michele’s programming.
“I think that’s why I placed so well in Canada East on 13.1,” she says. “High volume and heavy weights.”
Michele is glad to have Ericka along for the ride.
“I love training with her. I’ve had training partners, but there’s nothing like sharing those tough 6 a.m. morning sessions with your flesh and blood. I’m so proud of her,” Michele says. “She is so good at this and has such a great head on her shoulders. She trains just because she loves to push herself, and in that way, we are very much alike.”
Ericka is not taking her raining environment for granted.
“It’s actually a fun environment at 6 a.m. It’s not very competitive, because she’s on a different level, and I’m there to support her in her training,” she explains. “She pushed me without even really trying. I’m more in competition with myself. I don’t think I scare her much yet.”
The two sisters are often mistaken for one another. The only major clear identifier is Ericka’s half-sleeve tattoo.
“When I started CrossFit, I was chunkier, so people could tell the difference. After a year, my body has changed to look like Michele’s, so now people get us confused,” Ericka says.
The Letendre twins both count overhead squats and snatches among their strengths. For Ericka, weaknesses include kettlebell swings, push-ups, muscle-ups and aerobic capacity.
“Michele kills me in endurance and cardio, but she’s a Games athlete and I’m a full-time employee and part-time student,” she attests.
Ericka performed 13.1, her first Open experience, like a veteran.
“This was my first real competitive event, so I just wanted to get to the last 10 burpees. The weights of the snatch ladder did not scare me. The burpees did. Michele was judging me and I didn’t want to let her down, so I paced through it like I would in our workouts in the morning. I kept my pace and focused on technique.”
With the Letendre twins drawing on one another for support and encouragement in training and competition, Canada East just might be seeing double in May.