If Chris Hoppe qualifies for the Games, he'll be competing alongside his mother, Beth, who finished 11th in the Masters 55-59 Division.
When Chris Hoppe first started CrossFit, he used it as a way to help him recover from a battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Now, several years later, he is ready for a different kind of battle at the 2014 South West Regional.
Hoppe, co-owner and head coach of Progressive Fitness CrossFit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been doing CrossFit since 2007. But last year was the first time he competed at the regional level. Hoppe suffered an injury in 2011, which forced him to take 2012 off from competing in the Open, but he returned in 2013 and took fifth place at the South West Regional, just two spots shy of qualifying for the Games.
Since then, Hoppe has recruited Dusty Hyland as his coach to help him work on some of the weaknesses he identified in his performance last year.
“We’ve been focusing on cleaner movements—basically technique on higher-end gymnastics, making sure that my pull-ups are clean, my push-ups are clean, and that my muscle-up transitions are more efficient and all my O-lifting is more efficient,” Hoppe said. “Mainly making sure that the volume I’m doing is of the right efficiency.”
The payoff has been apparent with top finishes at various local competitions and a fifth-place finish in the region in the Open.
“This year, I am looking to win at regionals rather than just see if I can compete with the big dogs,” he said. “I want to qualify for the Games and then see what happens.”
Hoppe said he was not excited to see pistols in the release of the events for the first day of regionals, but will remain focused.
“I feel prepared, and I’m not really scared about anything that they are going to throw out,” he said. “I’m looking forward to how we’re going to be able to game it since we are the last region to go. Over the course of the next (four) weeks, we get to watch people do it and fine-tune our plan. So for us, it’s basically relying on the past nine months of work and just being able to put the tools that you’ve acquired to great use.”
Should Hoppe accomplish his goal and qualify for the Games, he won’t be the only one in his family competing in the Games this year. Beth Hoppe, his mother and co-owner of Progressive Fitness CrossFit, finished in 11th place in her masters division after the Masters Qualifier.
“Coaching my mom to qualify for the Games was huge for me this year,” said the proud son. “As a coach, that was a big goal of mine and to be able to do that with my mom is pretty cool.”
Chris first got Beth into CrossFit six years ago when he became her personal trainer. He’s remained her coach since then.
“He was putting me through CrossFit when I didn’t know it,” Beth said. “He’d make me do these crazy workouts and I’d say, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’ Then one thing led to another and when I realized I was doing CrossFit, I was just like, ‘Wow, OK.’ It was kind of a surprise start to it all, and then we just started doing it together.”
Both competitors had hopes to qualify for the CrossFit Games together, but the opportunity might come sooner than expected.
“Chris had told me last year: ‘One of these days, we’re going to make it to the Games together,’” Beth said. “And this might be the year, which is an accomplishment for both of us. … Where we started with his addiction and going through all of that together, and then doing this together as a team and coming out winners on top. When he would always say, ‘We’re going to make it to the Games together one day,’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, you will.’ I never ever thought that I would make it to the Games.”
Beth said Chris’s confidence in her ability to make it to the Games is what got her there. Her confidence in her son’s ability to qualify might just result in the same happy ending.
“Watching him grow year by year … he’s got such determination and such drive, anything that is thrown at him, he’s got the power to achieve it,” said the proud mother. “I’ve seen that throughout his life. He puts his mind to it and he stays so focused on what he’s doing. It’s amazing.”
Beth added: “I think he is going to kill it. He has put in the work, he has put in the time and he has put in the commitment. I think he is going to walk away a winner.”