Nine Times

May 15, 2016

Hilary Achauer

This year Becca Voigt has done what no woman or man has accomplished before her: she has qualified for the Games for a ninth year in a row.

As the bars got heavier, Becca Voigt’s smile grew wider.

When Voigt practiced Event 1, the snatch ladder, the furthest she got was 6 snatches at 155 lb.

“My goal was 155 (lb.), so I told myself if I got through that I had to be happy,” Voigt said.

Voigt completed the 6 snatches at 155 lb. and then kept going. She got through 4 snatches at 165 lb., bursting into a grin after each successful lift.

Then Voigt moved to the last bar and snatched 175 lb., her 1-rep max, twice. Each time she stood up with the bar, a smile of triumph and pride spread across her face.

Athletes come and go in competitive CrossFit, burning bright and then fading away, either slipping down the leaderboard or leaving competition entirely.

Not Voigt. This year, she’s done what no woman or man has accomplished before her: she has qualified for the Games for a ninth year in a row.

For nine years, no matter the venue or the events, Voigt has showed up, done the work and qualified for the CrossFit Games.

Every year, the odds stack against her, but Voigt prevails.

Consistent and Fierce

There are so many reasons for Voigt to fail. She’s 35, older than many of her fellow competitors. She owns and runs her own affiliate, CrossFit Training Yard. She’s asked a lot of her body over the last nine years.

But Voigt comes back every year, consistent and fierce.

Her husband, Eric Miller, said her secret is her mental toughness.

“Her mental game is ridiculous,” Miller said.

“All these women are fit,” he said, but Miller said Voigt is able to endure pain like nobody else.

“She’s so resilient and strong,” Miller said. “She will work out in a garage by herself with the same intensity she does here.”

Voigt said this year she feels more settled than ever. She’s been here before. She knows what to expect.

“I just want to have a good showing and prove to myself that my training is working. I’m only thinking about the next event,” she said.

“A lot of self talk,” is how Voigt said she gets through each event. “These are really hard. I try to do my best,” she said.

Voigt said her secret is to never be happy with where she is. “I train with people who are better than me, and I stay humble,” she said.

The advantage of being at more regionals than any other woman on the floor is the added experience, she said.

“It’s knowing when it’s 3, 2, 1 … go, to not sprint. Don’t redline at the beginning,” she said. “I know when I need to push myself."

Her masterful pacing was obvious in Event 6, the chipper that began Day 3. Voigt stayed calm when the women around her finished the 1,000-meter bike ride before her. She made up time on the handstand walk, and then moved into second place during the 10 overhead squats at 155 lb., which she completed unbroken. From there she steadily took down Lauren Fisher, then Alessandra Pichelli, ending the event a comfortable 9 seconds ahead of Pichelli.

Voigt said there is also a disadvantage that comes with competing for nine years. “I’m old,” she said with a laugh.

For Voigt, age isn’t a reason to stop doing anything.

When asked if she’s going for a 10th Games, Voigt answered without hesitation.

“Yes,” she said.