It doesn’t take long to notice that there’s something different about the way Sean Sweeney approaches competition. Besides being the only athlete walking onto the competition floor with a Cowboy hat on, Sweeney’s demeanor quickly makes him stick out like a sore thumb amongst his peers – bellowing out jokes and sarcastic comments while others anxiously await the starting buzzer, often times handing out souvenirs for fans in the crowd that he brought to share.
Just having fun: The lightheartedness of Sweeney stands in stark contrast to the stoic and focused behavior usually seen by top athletes on the competition floor. To the casual viewer, it may appear as though he’s not taking the competition serious enough, but Sweeney contends it’s a necessary component to his performance.
“I can’t help the way that I am, but I’d much rather go out there and be my true self,” Sweeney jokes. “I don’t perform well if I’m not having fun.”
More than performance: The physical efficacy of this approach lies in the fact that Sweeney has qualified for the CrossFit Games three times in the last four years, but the more important proof of concept for Sweeney comes from the reactions he gets from fans and the crowd each time he competes.
“Finding this lifestyle saved me, so I want to give back, I want to showcase to others the joy this lifestyle brings me and share that in a positive manner on the competition floor.”
Irish Cowboy: When the top men’s heat lined up on day 2 outside in the rainy cold for event 4 “Galen,” the somber mood left by many athletes struggling in previous heats was immediately squashed as Sweeney starts playing up the crowd, and before long, the CrossFit Cowboy is shirtless, the crowd in Ireland is in stitches, and Sweeney notches his best finish of the weekend.
Maybe Sean Sweeney’s on to something.
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