February 16, 2017
“Pop” Goes the Open?
By Emily Beers
Sean Sweeney injures ankle, vows to qualify for Games.
Sean Sweeney injures ankle, vows to qualify for Games.

Monday—just 10 days before the start of the upcoming CrossFit Games Open—Jacob Tsypkin received a text message from his star pupil, Sean Sweeney.

Attached was a picture that showed Sweeney’s ankle swollen bigger than a baseball.

“Not sure if it’s broken or sprained, but it’s no bueno,” the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games athlete wrote to his coach.

“No explanation of what happened,” Tsypkin added.

When Tsypkin first saw the picture of Sweeney’s foot, he admitted it was hard to be positive.

“My internal reaction (was), ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck,’” Tsypkin said.

To Sweeney, though, he wrote: “Well, let's not get freaked out about it until we have more information, X-Rays etc …”.

And when Tsypkin found out how Sweeney got injured—his ankle buckled underneath him during a set of lightweight front-rack box step-ups—Tsypkin’s reaction was, “You unathletic son of a bitch,” followed by, “This doesn’t mean you’re getting a rest day.”

Diagnosed with a sprain, Sweeney stayed positive on social media: “Doc says 2-4 weeks (until) I can be back to training but I am willing to bet I’ll bounce back quicker than that. Luckily all the training is set in and I’m confident I’ll be just fine by next weekend for 17.1.”

But the man who finished fourth at the South Regional and 30th at the Games last year admitted his initial reaction was significantly less positive.

“When I fell off the box, I heard a loud ‘pop pop.’ I thought for sure it was broken. I threw out a few choice words. And then I asked someone to bring me a beer,” Sweeney said.

While the thought of 17.1 with box jumps or high-rep squats admittedly makes Sweeney nervous, he made a conscious decision to believe in himself the moment he found out his foot wasn’t broken.”

Instead of focusing on what might hurt him in the Open, Sweeney is now focused on how he’s in the best shape of his life and how he isn’t going to let a sprained ankle prevent him from pursuing his second straight trip to the Games, he explained.

“Not qualifying is not an option,” Sweeney said. “I have 13 days until I have to submit my score for 17.1. It’s not optimal, but I’m the most fit I have ever been and I know I will be ready for whatever. I still feel confident that even if I’m not 100 percent I can still get through.”

He added: “I’ll get it done. I’m not going to let this ruin my season.”