Nothing represents the unbeatable sense of community in CrossFit better than the atmosphere during the team events. With athletes sharing the load between them and supporting each other through their moments of weakness, the energy becomes palpable and reverberates throughout the stadium. Whether it’s the top finishers or those trailing behind, each team is always supported by a wealth of enthusiasm and roars from their affiliate members along the sidelines and in the stands.
It is that sense of community that creates an amazing amount of pressure for team members. Whilst it is a team of six athletes who share the demands of the grueling workouts, it’s often the individual who carries the burden of performing when it matters most.
Day 1, Event 2 could not have showcased this better as CrossFit Athletics’, Philippa Robinson was faced with the daunting task of completing 15 hang cleans in less than two minutes to bring her team over the finish line.
Spurred on by the dominating cheers of her affiliate and the audience, Robinson not only managed to complete the hang cleans but did so unbroken. It was an impressive performance, which was met by huge cheers from the crowd.
“I always knew as long as I got on the bar I was going to be fine. I was more worried about my teammate having a bit of a mental breakdown because it was literally her second CrossFit event ever and she missed one [clean] and it spiraled from there,” she said.
It was the same event that proved, yet again, to be an inspiring display of CrossFit team spirit, with many athletes pushing themselves beyond their previous personal bests. No one knows this better than team, Inner West CrossFit who lost several team members going into this year’s Games. Two-time Games competitor and team captain, Dave Buckley and their female Finnish powerhouse, Ulla Simanainen were both ruled out due to injury. Buckley broke his wrist during an Olympic weightlifting session while Simanainen suffered a shoulder dislocation a few weeks prior to the event.
Although Simanainen initially denied her injury, she soon realized it was severe enough to put an end to her hopes of competing in this years Regional.
“I was completely devastated, I was crying,” Simanainen said.
Inner West CrossFit faced a challenge not unlike many affiliates. When injuries mount they look to other box members to put their hand up and support the community from within. Finally, despite knowing the weight was much more then her personal best, Katrina Stuve put her hand up for the task.
When Buckley was asked how he felt how Stuve would perform he said, “I knew it was always going to be a very difficult task for her. This was much more than her personal best but we have a great team.”
Despite her best attempts, in the end the weight proved too challenging for Stuve as she failed to complete a rep. She admits she was very nervous before the event. “I just didn’t want to let the team down,” she says.
“It doesn't matter. When we were up against the wall I was proud of the fact she was prepared to go out there in front of huge audience and put herself on the line,” said Buckley about Stuve’s performance.
Stuve and Robinson are just two examples of competitors pushing themselves beyond their limits. Going into this weekend many questions were going to be asked on the stadium floor, one that was answered, was that CrossFit team spirit is alive and strong.