Some people look calm and focused when they’re competing. Others get captured in pictures making unflattering, gnarly pain faces. Fifty-two-year-old Larry Silber has a competing style all his own.
Last weekend, during a sled drag event at a competition at Lynnwood CrossFit in Washington, I yelled “Good job, Larry!” Out of breath, struggling slightly with the heavy sled, the charming Masters athlete paused mid-workout, looked over at me and winked.
But don’t for a second think the wink slowed Silber down. He is, after all, the second fittest 50- to 54-year-old man in the world. He just knows how to have fun when he’s in grueling physical pain.
Jake Platt, the owner of Northwest CrossFit where Larry works out, explained that Larry is a deceiving athlete. “He doesn’t seem to be a very competitive guy, but somehow he comes out on top every time,” said Platt.
As for Silber, he revealed that his calmness is merely a façade. “I get really nervous, really stressed out when I compete,” said Silber, who works as a chiropractor and spends much of his time treating other CrossFitters these days.
“He’s an amazing chiropractor,” said Platt. “He’s our in-house go-to guy for ailments, and our diet and nutrition educator.”
Silber said having a full-time career prevents him from spending as much time CrossFitting as he would like, but this hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most successful Masters athletes in the world.
His most proud CrossFit moment came last summer in California. “Being number two last year, I was ecstatic,” he said. “It was my proudest accomplishment. I feel like it gave me a little street cred.”
After being 4th in 2010 and 2nd in 2011, Silber is hoping to take the whole thing down this year. But more than anything, he just loves competing in the Games environment.
“Where else can you be 50-years-old and compete on an international stage?” asked Silber. “Reebok treated us like rock stars last year.”
The way Silber competes - winking at girls in the stands mid-workout, and busting out three consecutive muscle-ups immediately followed by 10 ring dips, like he did in Lynnwood on the weekend - he almost could be a rock star.
And he plans to continue competing “as long as they’ll let me,” said Silber. “I just feel like I can do anything I put my mind to these days. If see other people doing something, then I feel like I should be able to do it too.”