March 9, 2012
Redefining Golden Years: Betsy Finley
By Cindy Young

"Although I worked for my gold medal in 2011, there is no way I would have even come close without the support and constant coaching from my entire gym.

During the last event of the Masters competition in 2011. 

Finley took 1st place in the 60-plus category.

At 61, Betsy Finley of Akron, Ohio never imagined herself at the top of a podium at the Home Depot Center taking the 1st place in fittest 60-plus Masters athlete. But she was and she plans to defend her title in 2012.

“Last year when I qualified for the Games, I had no idea what I was in for,” recalls Finley. “My days are filled with children, teachers, parents, meetings and quite a bit of paperwork as my role of a school administrator. Never once had I considered myself an athlete.”

As her CrossFit career progressed, Finley began to rely more on her trainers within CrossFit Akron. Their insightful guidance was exactly what Finley needed.

Her workout fuel was the initial focus. Finley began taking her paleo-based diet seriously and monitoring everything she ate meticulously.

After she had her diet under control, Finley revamped her training. Today, Finley is in the gym for no less than six workouts. Once this year’s Open is over, her volume will increase to prepare for the Games.

Trainer/Box Owner Brian Parana has started to bump up Finley’s training even more during the Open. “We have her doing as many as RX’d WODs as she is capable of,” Parana says. “We know that we need to get her endurance ready to go.”

Parana says Finley has a different mindset in 2012 than she did in 2011. “Last year she went into the open thinking I am a Grandma. This year she knows she’s an athlete,” he says.
Finley agrees. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, we all have skills and weights that intimidate us,” she explains. “We all have aches and pains that stalk various body parts.”  

Like a true CrossFitter, Finley finds the root of her success within her community. “Although I worked hard for my gold medal in 2011, there is no way I would have even come close without the support and constant coaching from my entire gym,” she says. “In a way, I felt that I was competing to represent my gym and all the hard work and dedication at CrossFit Akron.”
In 2011, Finley was struggling to get consecutive pull-ups. This year, Finley is easily stringing together 18-plus without leaving the bar. “Brian said I could not come off the bar until I fell off, so I didn’t and I got 18.”

Finley recorded 79 burpees for 12.1. For 12.2 Finley traveled to Columbus, Ohio to complete the workout at the Arnold Sports Festival. Her fans were there to cheer her on and she did not disappoint, completing 84 snatches alongside athletes half her age. “I didn’t pull the 90 I had my eye on, but I guess 84 isn’t too bad for a movement I don’t do all that much,” she says.

Finley’s score of 84 reps placed her in 4th overall after Week 2.