Australian teenager, Abbey Smith, went into the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open as the youngest competitor in the field, having turned 14 on March 10 — the cutoff date for this year’s global event.
One thing is certain: Smith may be young, but she is a genuine competitor.
After only six months of CrossFit, she can already perform a 9 kg weighted pull-up and boasts a 90-kg deadlift.
“We want people to compare her to the adults because that’s what we do here,” Smith’s coach and head coach at CrossFit Ingleburn, Mick Geale, says.
“She doesn’t need kid weights and kid movements. If we’re doing thrusters at 30 kg, then Abbey does thrusters at 30 kg.”
Despite Geale’s confidence, Smith is a very humble young woman with realistic goals for her first Open.
“This year, I just want to see how I go, so next year I can compare how much I’ve improved over a year,” Smith says.
“It’ll be a good opener to see what Abbey can and can’t do. Hopefully, she can get through everything this year without getting any DNFs or have anything hold her up skill wise,” he says.
Still very new to the sport, Smith is well on her way to mastering CrossFit’s advanced movements. She is closing in on her first muscle-up and is just one Abmat away from a full range of motion handstand push-up.
While both Smith and Geale acknowledge she won’t be hitting the top of the Leaderboard this year, they see it as good preparation for when she’s older.
“She’s going to compare herself to her heroes that are competing in the Games rather than just trying to top the other kids, but it’ll obviously be bigger for her when she’s 16 or 17 years old,” Geale says.
And when it comes to Smith’s heroes?
“Definitely Rich Froning and Julie Foucher,” she says.
While this year, the Open is purely for experience, the future may be a very different story.
“I’d like to work at a CrossFit Games thing,” Smith says. “I hope to compete, too.”
For now, though, it will be Smith’s determination and heart that get her through the grueling Open Workouts in 2013.
“Abbey sets a lot of really big goals for herself,” Geale says. “A lot of people I know that have the same attitude and it’s the worst thing in the world for them because they hurt themselves, but with Abbey, it’s just making her stronger.”
In recent times, Smith demonstrated her dogged determination by Rx’ing some of CrossFit’s benchmark workouts.
“I did Fran in 22:53, Helen in 14:49, Jackie in 13:53 and Karen in 32:27,” Smith says.
In particular, Geale is especially proud of her effort during Karen.
“The height was ridiculous. It was almost a one-rep max every time trying to get that ball to that height,” he says. “It would have been at least 275 reps to get that 150 reps done.”
At 14 years old, Smith already demonstrates the mental toughness required of a CrossFit athlete and does everything in her power to be as competitive as possible.
“She’s got specialized strength training and she eats well for it. She’s 100 percent as competitive as I am,” Geale says.
But while she is still a teenager, and with her body still developing, Smith’s placing in this year’s Open will depend on just how heavy the workouts are.
“She's not going to beat everyone but she's going to beat a lot of people,” Geale says. “If the workouts somewhat suit her, and if there's not a lot of heavy weightlifting, then she's going to do amazing.”