Roman Khrennikov, Three-Time CrossFit Games Qualifier, Finally Gets the Chance to Compete
After placing 10th in the 2020 CrossFit Games Open, Russian athlete Roman Khrennikov punched his ticket to the Games. And for the third straight year, it was looking like Khrennikov might not be able to compete.
The problem: Khrennikov, who first became known when he won the 2018 Europe Regional, hasn’t been able to get a travel visa to the United States, even after CrossFit HQ provided letters explaining his intention to compete at the CrossFit Games.
Then everything changed: With the change in format this year and stage one of the Games being online, the 25-year-old Russian national champion will finally get his opportunity.
- “I’m very excited about this. It has been my ambition to compete at the CrossFit Games for a long time….the format is not what we all want, but it is the best option that could be made in the situation. Since this is my best chance to compete against the strongest athletes and show them what I am made of, I will take it,” Khrennikov said.
One big thing: Rumors have circulated that Khrennikov hasn’t been able to achieve a travel visa for reasons related to his military involvement in the past, but his agent Snorri Barón confirmed “those rumors are false.”
- “His visa troubles mostly stem from him not being able to prove to US immigration that he will return to Russia — He was only in the military for the mandatory 12-month draft that all men in Russia need to fulfill,” Barón said.
- Khrennikov added: “The way I understand this is that I am being rejected because I cannot prove that I will return to Russia. The fact is that I have a very good life in Russia with my wife and two dogs. Why would I not want to return? I can travel all over the world and have done so. I have competed in Ireland, Iceland, Italy, (the) UK and (the) UAE with no problems. The only country that has not been willing to grant me a visa is the US.”
Looking to the future: Should Khrennikov place in the top five this weekend and qualify to the CrossFit Games finals, Baron said he’s hopeful the “tide in his visa troubles will now turn.”
- “Crossfit HQ have pledged to help him out and (owner) Eric Roza himself is aware of the situation and wants to help Roman out,” Baron said.
Whether or not this happens, Khrennikov insists that he hasn’t let his inability to travel to the United States affect his training or his love for the sport.
- “I wasn’t really that upset about it because there have been a lot of other big competitions besides the Games, where I have been able to prove myself. I don’t allow the things I cannot control bother me. I just keep training,” he said.