Over the last weekend, the inaugural highly anticipated CrossFit Games took place and has come to an end. It’s as if the entire CrossFit Community stopped whatever they were doing right on their tracks and switched to youtube, ESPN or what not to catch some action. It was exhilarating to say the least, the events were well crafted to adequately test for the unknown and unknowable such as the pedal to the metal and sandbag workout; yet keep us at the edge of our seats with the speed events such as the Snatch speed ladder and the Sprint obstacle course. All of those events got us all glued to the screen. Through the entire weekend, we saw some athletes rise to the occasion, some fell out and some emerged victorious. Ben Smith and Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir are the 2 to be crowned the fittest on Earth. However, what makes a games athlete a champion? For the most of us, we won’t be making it to the games anytime soon, or even the regionals for that matter. But perhaps we can learn from these champs and figure out what they do differently that we can apply in our lives in and out of the box.
1) You come back, again and again
Both Ben Smith and Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir have one thing in common, they have tried and have failed.
Ben Smith has been making several trips to the games, this is is 7th consecutive year at it. He has performed consistently well and has stood on the podium for quite a number of times. However, it was only on his 7th year did he make it to the top. Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir although slightly newer to the games faced a big blow in 2014 when she didn’t qualify for the games. Both of them could have said, “Well, that’s enough, I think I can take it easy from now on.” Smith could have said “I’ve been at this for 7 years now, I think that’s enough, time to take a break.” Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir could have said, “Not making it to the Games last year, what makes me think I can make it back and even win this year?”
Well they didn’t have those thoughts at all. It was simply, let’s get in and go. We all need to have that attitude of coming back again and again despite multiple failures. I say multiple because it isn’t just going to be one fall or failure, it’s going to be many and some of them are going to be brutal. It’s all about coming back stronger physically and mentally. Which brings me to the next point for what makes a champion
2) It’s all about the Preparation
Every year that they didn’t make it, they learnt something. That’s their preparation. They learn that the CrossFit Games isn’t set out the way they thought it would be. Or it reveals a chink in their armour, a weakness. What happens after that is what separates the entire pack. How you treat failures and look at them makes a huge difference.
You could tell yourself, okay, I don’t think I’m ever gonna get better at that, or that’s just my weakness so I can’t do anything about that. OR, you could take that opportunity, to head back to your home ground, your box, your garage and spend countless hours relentlessly getting better at anything and everything.
As the old saying goes, “Champions are not those who never fail but rather, are those who never quit.” So in the box, take time to improve on your skills. Look at that failed Muscle Up or Double Under trip up as a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block. You can and will get better.
3) It’s not over until the weekend is done
Both of them, knew that in this competition, anything can happen (Once again, learnt from their past failures). It isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It started post 2014 season and it ends only after the last workout. You can’t rest on your laurels at the end of Saturday, nope. You’ve gotta grind it out the whole way. For them, that extra push to the end is truly what makes a champion. That extra mile isn’t just going to make them the champ, it is also commonly the hardest part of the whole weekend.
Keeping a positive attitude is going to help. Davidsdottir took first place on only one event—Pedal to the Metal 2—but she won when it counted, moving ahead of Ragnheiður Sara Sigmundsdottir, who was in first going into the last two events. When she woke up Sunday morning, Davidsdottir said she was sore. “But, of course, we all are,” she said. “We are all in the same boat.”
4) Enjoy more, worry less
Not just the 2 champs but all the Games athletes think of the Games as not just a competition where they’re out for blood. They’re here to have some fun, to enjoy themselves and bask in the community. They’re only going to be here once a year and honestly, many won’t know if they’ll be back next year.
If any one of them spent most of their time afraid and worried about the next event and if they can survive the entire weekend, then likely, they won’t make it far in the games. We see how the previous champ, Annie Thorisdottir, walking into the field with the brimming Annie smile every single time. Even when she was hit badly after Murph, she still kept her head held high entering the snatch speed ladder. That’s truly what sets them apart.
You have to enjoy the training. You can’t worry about whats going to happen next but to enjoy the competition, to give it your all regardless of outcome and result.
So that’s our take on what makes a champion. What are your thoughts? Any other aspects that would make a champion?