"We went into Regionals with a bit more confidence, unlike last year where we tended to doubt ourselves. I think this year, as individuals, we each are ready to take on whatever is thrown at us at the Games.”
Mississauga, Ontario’s CrossFit Select has had the bittersweet experience of finishing third at Regionals in both 2011 and 2012.
This year was different.
“Each year, just a few errors cost us a spot to earn a trip the Games,” says Tommy Snarr, who will be making the trip to Carson, Calif., with the Select team, as well as with his father Scott, who qualified as an individual in the Master’s 55-59 Division.
“This year, we all pushed and trained for the same goal, not to just do well and have fun at Regionals, but to qualify for the Games,” says Select team member Holly McIlroy. “We went into Regionals with a bit more confidence, unlike last year where we tended to doubt ourselves. I think this year, as individuals, we each are ready to take on whatever is thrown at us at the Games.”
This year’s team is made up of Snarr, McIlroy, Pete D’Amore, Chris Baillie, Pam Evans, Lesley Naumowich, and alternates Steve Viola and Monica Branco. Snarr says one of the challenges Select has faced is how substantially the team has changed over the years.
“Selecting our team was a tough process, as we had such great athletes to choose from and only six spots,” he says. “A lot of hard talks where had, tough choices and feeling were hurt – everyone wanted it so badly.”
Snarr has faced some challenges of his own over the past few years. A former national level snowboarder, he broke his back in 2009 in a competition and saw his career cut short. Three years ago, he lost his mother in a tragic snowboarding accident. Last year, after placing fifth at Regionals as an individual, he broke his collarbone in a dirt biking accident. He says CrossFit has given him an escape and provided him with hope.
“CrossFit has given me a second chance to make to the top and to make my mom proud,” he says. “The Games are my Olympics.”
Snarr is quick to add that the key to Select’s success this year is the strength of the team as a whole, with each athlete bringing something special to the table.
“We have a very balanced team,” he says. “We all know our weaknesses and get on each other to make sure we attack them as much as we can during the week.”
McIlroy adds that balancing equally busy work schedules makes them appreciate the time when they can train together.
“This year, we each worked as individuals to get stronger and work on our own skills and weaknesses and then came together as a team on weekends for team workouts,” she says. “We are very blessed to have so many talented athletes at our gym, not only on our team, so it's easy to find someone to throw down with, who can push you and inspire you,” she says.
As they near the Games, Select has added more volume and skill. They are looking forward to seeing if their hard work has paid off when they get to the StubHub Center.
“I think we are all excited to be on the big stage,” says Snarr. “I’m excited to perform in front of everyone and have some fun in the sun.”
In its first-ever trip to the Games, CrossFit Select aims to finish in the top half.
“I want our team to do the best that we can,” Snarr says. “I would like to make it to the final workout. I think we can.”
“Being able to compete alongside so many amazing teams and athletes is going to be surreal,” McIlroy adds. “I'm sure it’s going to light a fire under our bums for next year!”