CrossFit Games | Stories

Rio Makes No Excuses: How the Rio CrossFit Community Came Together to Solve a Crisis

May 26, 2018 by
Photo Courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.
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As Heat 1 of Event 3 kicked off, something was noticeably different about the event. Instead of ring muscle-ups, athletes performed bar muscle-ups on a rig that was donated by CrossFit Crown last night. 

Only 10 StairStep and Incline mats were able to be delivered so CrossFit HQ improvised again, opting to extend the handstand walks further instead of turning athletes around to go back up again. And instead of pylons to mark their progress on pistols, athletes moved 70 pound dumbbells like chess pieces.

To be clear, this isn’t a failure of CrossFit HQ to prepare nor is it them treating the Latin America Regional as second rate. 

Brazil is in the midst of a massive truck strike which has crippled major roadways and made delivery to the Arena Carioca 1 in Rio De Janeiro next to impossible. 

“I landed Thursday morning to find our staff and volunteers scrambling to pull off an event with what we had available. They did an amazing job,” Dave Castro said. “But the true savior for the competition was the local Rio CrossFit affiliate community. They rallied and provided enough gear for us to put on a legitimate and fair test (with some slight changes and modifications) for our Latin American Regionals.”

This is no small strike.

Here in the United States, it’s hard to fully understand the gravity and significance of this strike and the disruptions to the surrounding community. For the most part, we’re immune to massive transportation strikes crippling roadways. 

There are 521 highways blockaded across Brazil, in all but two of the 27 states. Schools shut down, garbage collection halted, and fuel is being rationed for emergency vehicles.

In each case, CrossFit and local affiliates found a way around the crisis.

Bespoke from the ground up.

Even with the help of 16 local Brazilian affiliates supplying CrossFit with rowers, Assault Bikes, barbells, plates, and dumbbells, Dave and his team still faced programming challenges. 

On Friday, athletes ran outside instead of on the Assault Air Runner, and performed push-presses instead of bench presses during Event 2. It’s still unclear how they’ll address handstand push-ups in Event 5 and rope climbs in Event 6. 

Teams faced similar disruptions. Only the worm casings arrived on time so HQ filled them with sandbags to weigh 385 pounds, which made an already unwieldy object even more challenging. They also adapted the handstand walking, synchronized pull-ups, and run course. 

“Each of our events is a custom production that is handmade by hundreds of staff and local volunteers. Rio has been an unprecedented challenge, yet our teams have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic spirit and cooperation from the CrossFit affiliate community in Brazil,” said Justin Bergh, the General Manager of the CrossFit Games. “They showed up without hesitation, gave generously, and have left an indelible mark on Regionals this year.”

All of these modifications speak to the adaptability of CrossFit athletes to take on any test or challenge, whether they have five minutes or five days to prepare. It’s also a testament to how the CrossFit community comes together to quickly solve a problem. 

The final day of competition kicks off tomorrow where only one male and female athlete, and one team will earn a trip to Madison, WI. 

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