March 6, 2012
The Keith Simon Story
By Josh Bunch

Although Simon was out of competing, he wasn't out of CrossFit. He has wisely used his time to be an example for modifications and proof that anyone can compete.

Less than one year ago Keith Simon was fighting regionally for one of three spots to California. Today Simon fights for second to last place in the CrossFit Open 2012.

Simon, a former rugby player, is no stranger to pain. When his back began to feel “iffy” a few years ago, he figured he would just work through it. He was wrong.

As Simon’s CrossFit career grew, his conditioned worsened. Simon’s back pain escalated from temporary, to nagging, to constant. Finally, Simon took action, and the news less than stellar.

“If you do this competition, there is a good chance you will seriously injure yourself”, Simon’s doctor said after looking at his MRI, and discussing the 2011 Regional.

Simon decided to risk it all. With one event down, Simon was sitting comfortably. Things would abruptly change during the second round of the Deadlift/Box Jump Couplet. Although Simon would finish the workout, and the weekend, he would remember the set of 15 deadlifts at 315 pounds as his final wake-up call.

After several months away from training, and several doctors later, Simon went under the knife in October 2011 to repair his fractured L-4, L-5, and S-1.

Simon’s orders are still in effect to this very day, and will be for up to a year post surgery. “No hip flexion for a year,” was doctor’s orders.


Although Simon was out of competing, he wasn’t out of CrossFit. He has wisely used his time to be an example for modifications and proof that anyone can compete.

“I signed up to compete in this year’s Open so that our athletes at CrossFit New Albany, and our new members on the fence, would see me creatively taking part in something I had no chance of winning,” Simon says.

Open Workout 12.1 found Simon quasi-lunging toward the floor, rolling onto his chest, lunging back upright, and hoping off of one foot to count his one and only burpee rep. A post-surgery burpee PR.

Simon’s post surgery PR streak doubled upon completing two snatches at 75 pounds during 12.2. Simon approached 75 pounds as if it were five hundred pounds. Upon assuming the best start position possible Simon virtually snatch-grip reversed curled two full reps.

The Open may offer Simon something he cannot do as recommended. Should this happen, he will adjust and modify as he would recommend to any of the athletes he now coaches. Simon will continue fighting the good fight for his team inspiring them to believe in themselves. Simon lives proof positive that CrossFit, and the Open, are for everyone.