They are coming from every corner of the world. They hail from Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Brazil. They are National Champions, wild cards, teens, masters.
The 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games kicked off in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Aug.1, with its most diverse field of athletes ever. Everyone has a story. Here is a look at just a few.
Mishka Murad, National Champion of Pakistan
“How many athletes spent their summers lying on the cold tiled floors of their homes because there was no electricity (or) power for hours on end?" Murad asks. "How many of them were told women should stick to cooking and cleaning? How many of them were restricted by the lack of life opportunities? For the first time, I get to meet people like that at the Games ... because finally those people who didn’t grow up with CrossFit gyms or could even afford it, get to be there. So maybe now, I will have people to look up to—people who have persevered despite it all.”
Richy Jordan, National Champion of Barbados
“I understand that everyone wants to see the top athletes compete at the Games, but CrossFit has given myself and other National Champions a chance to represent their country and perform at the biggest event of the year,” Jordan says.
“The goal this year was to just ... be the National Champion of my country. Competing at the Games is a blessing only a small amount of athletes can take part in. Now it’s just about enjoying the moment, (survive the swim), and (giving) everything I’ve got on each event.”
Kristen Lim, National Champion of the Philippines
“We know that the probability of us getting cut is pretty high," says Lim. "So what we are trying to do right now is setting the proper mindset. We are really here more for the experience and bringing that back with us to the Philippines.”
Landy Pui Boon Eng, National Champion of Singapore
“I would like to take this chance to inform women to do more research about CrossFit, or exercising in general," Boon Eng says. "Lifting weights alone cannot make women look manly. I may look more muscular than the average woman, but I am still girlie. Just take a look at all the female CrossFit Games athletes. Do they look like men just because they are muscular? No they don’t.”
Wild Cards and Age Groupers
Hunter McIntyre, U.S. Wild Card Athlete
“I know I’ve got the talent, I’ve got the strength, I’ve got the capacity, I’ve got the tenacity, I’m focused," McIntyre says. "A real true champion athlete can walk in different directions and pretty much nail the spot if they want to.
“I don’t mind getting my ass beat. I love challenges. I think this is a great opportunity for myself to reassess who I am as a person, define myself as a person, and reinvigorate my career.”
David Bradley, 15-Year-Old Teenage Athlete
Forsyth News reports: “Bradley says that he owes (his) work ethic to the bullies who had so much fun at his expense when he was younger. Their words and actions, he said, are what gave him the determination to grow and do things that made him proud. "I think being bullied about (being overweight) … really pushed me to lose my weight," Bradley said.
“‘I could place last at the Games, and I'd still look back at where I was few years ago—I was obese, I was sitting on my couch gaming—and now I'm here at the CrossFit Games feeling healthier than ever, just proud of myself."
Carl Giuffre, Masters Men 60+
“It was terrible, because basically, I was not athletic for a good portion of my life," Giuffre says. "I’m actually the poster child for CrossFit. I’d never had a gym membership until I joined CrossFit here in Cartersville. Prior to that, the last time I was in any kind of decent physical shape was in 1977, when I was wrestling in high school.
“The beauty of CrossFit is that anyone can do it. ... It’s the same workout, but it’s infinitely scalable. It works and puts you in incredible condition. It’s great for everything—my blood pressure is lower, my resting heart rate is lower, my cholesterol is lower. I’m 60 years old, and I don’t take any medications for anything. It’s just great stuff.”
Julie Holt, Masters Women 60+
“It’s funny because I get so much crap—‘You’re a Division I football player but you’re still getting your butt kicked by your 60-year old mom.’ What can I say? More props to her,” Ben (Holt’s son) said, laughing. “We’ll get competitive. We’ll talk some smack to each other. If it’s a longer workout, she’ll kick my butt now and she’ll let me hear it. It’s a good time.”
“As adults, we don’t get to play very often and that’s how you look at it,” Julie said. “I had to live vicariously through my husband or my children. I ran a marathon and did stuff like that. I didn’t like that, and I didn’t want to do it but when I found CrossFit, I loved it.”
Watch the Games
Men's Health reports, “This year will be the thirteenth edition of the Games, and the first in several years that won't be broadcast on TV by ESPN and CBS. CrossFit opted instead to create an open source livestream for select media partners (like BarBend) to broadcast their own color commentary. The move takes away the chance to tune in to the competition while flipping through channels on your broadcast TV—but opening up the stream aims to make the Games more accessible for audiences everywhere, especially for non-English speakers.”