In a region with just one CrossFit affiliate per 496,193 square km on average, CrossFit in Latin America is still only available to the small niche population that has been fortunate enough to find it.
A vast economic gap between social classes, decentralized media from country to country, and a different language, are all factors that have played to some extent into the slow growth of the sport in the region … until now. Before the 2011 Regionals, there where about 16 affiliates. Now, there are 41 around the region and the affiliate owners have not stopped short of preaching the sport and lifestyle like gospel to both the fit conscious and those ready for a lifestyle change. CrossFit is not only here to stay.
The involvement of Reebok in the Latin American Region has been of the most notable since the 2011 Regionals, as they have set out to inaugurate a Reebok CrossFit Box in every country of the Region, and more so in the more populated countries. The main goal for Reebok is to help turn awareness and focus towards CrossFit, help educate young trainers in the methods of functional fitness, help top competitors get access to the best coaching that other regions already have access to, and to organize and market at least one national Reebok CrossFit Competition per country per year.
The 2011 season came to an end after the Regionals in the Republic of Panama sent Matthew and Tarasa Barnett to the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The husband and wife team got to travel with their affiliate team, CrossFit Cayman, who represented Latin America in the team competition.
The two male runner-ups, Orlando Trejo and Andres Danelutto from Peru and Panama respectively, have both continued to train hard and are eager for their opportunity to earn a spot to the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games and represent Latin America among the elite. They can both almost taste it. Batuque Iribarren from Argentina, 5th in 2011, has been performing very well in the local scene with a 2nd place finish in the Peru Competition. There is no doubt he has been training to be a threat. To the relief of the names above, the 4th place at the 2011 Regionals, Jarred Cantrell from Costa Rica moved back to the United States and will be competing at his respective region. Cantrell was the dark horse of 2011 who impressed everyone with his unstoppable engine and little respect for heavy weight.
Speaking of dark horses, what this region lacked last season were women competitors. Rumor has it, that scene will improve some, after only four female athletes showed up at the 2011 Regional. The crowd was very moved and pleased with the performances of Tarasa Barnett, Romina Ibarra from Argentina, Jennifer Chailler from Cayman, and Fernanda Rodriguez from Chile. Chailler has opted for teams this year and promises to bring a heavy-duty team from CrossFit 7 Mile in the Cayman Island, but the other three women, particularly Barnett and Ibarra have been preparing hard for the almost unknown number of potential threats who might compete. The Masters categories still have very few mentions in Latin America and there is doubt there will be any competitors, but we will have to wait for week one of the Open to see.
What is very clear though, is that the Barnetts are prepping hard to win their slots to the CrossFit Games again and are not willing to let go of that opportunity easily. Trejo, Danelutto, and Iribarren are all ready to become Matt Barnett’s big obstacle, and the big pool of new up-and-coming talent of dark horses are all eager to show their own bag of skills, heart, and desire. There is no doubt this will be an energetic, dramatic, and a season full of surprises for CrossFit in Latin America, a region ready to be taken by storm.