April 15, 2013
Heart of a Champion: Kevin Vega
By Manuela Echeverri

"To be honest, CrossFit didn't interest me at all and I didn't think I was going to like it."

Photos by: Silvana Rojano Pabon

Before the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open started, Kevin Vega had big aspirations about qualifying for Regionals. Even though this was his first Open competition, he had a lofty goal.

And five weeks later, he did it. He finished the Open in third place in Latin America and is headed to the Regional.

Vega, who trains out of CrossFit Santa Marta in Santa Marta, Colombia, started CrossFit only a year ago. He says he didn’t think much of CrossFit before he tried it.

“Before entering the CrossFit community, I was a personal trainer at a conventional gym,” he explains. “And to be honest, CrossFit didn’t interest me at all and I didn’t think I was going to like it, but today it is the engine that keeps me running, a true passion of mine.”

Once Vega started CrossFit, it didn’t take much for his whole life to change.

“I look at the way I used to think about fitness and compare it to what I know now and it has been a complete 180,” he says. “Everything from the way I eat to the way I train has changed 100 percent. It was like starting from zero.”

Munira Olarte, head coach and owner of CrossFit Santa Marta, says Vega had much to learn when he joined the box.

“When Kevin arrived at CrossFit Santa Marta, he didn’t have much knowledge about Olympic lifting or gymnastics, but was always willing to train hard and learn new skills,” she says. “Today, he is a role model at the gym. He is very humble and has a great heart. You need that to be a champion.”

Vega’s performance in the Open was very consistent. He placed fifth on 13.1, and remained in the top five in the region since. For 13.5, he was one of 46 men in Latin America to enter into the fourth round of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull-ups.

With the Open over and done, Vega is focused on Regionals.