Last year at the 2019 CrossFit Games, Kari Pearce was finally in the position that she had worked so hard for throughout her CrossFit career — she was wearing the coveted white shirt and red shorts that the athlete atop the leaderboard wears. Unfortunately for her, that moment was short-lived as she would only wear that distinction for one event, the last athlete not named Tia-Clair Toomey to wear the “Leader” jersey. She hopes to change that starting today with the start of the online stage of the 2020 Games.
Ms. Consistency: This has been a common theme in Pearce’s career over the last five seasons, as an athlete who captures glimpses of greatness but cannot hold on to it. Over that span only Toomey and Katrin Davidsdottir have been able to hold that claim. However only Toomey has been more consistent when it comes to success.
- Since placing 21st in her debut at the 2015 Games, Pearce has an average placing of 6.5 at the Games over the last four seasons.
- She has finished in the top-ten consistently since the 2016 Games including finishing fifth twice, her first time in 2016 and again last year.
- Pearce has finished in the top-20 in the worldwide Open every year since 2016.
- She has also been the United States top finisher at the Games the last two years.
Making changes: In late June, Pearce moved across the country from New York City to Las Vegas, Nevada. This move allowed her to train more openly away from the strict restrictions that New York has due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to Pearce it has its own unique challenges.
- “Moving to Vegas was definitely interesting at first because of the extreme heat and slight altitude. I’m thankful I did though because I have a solid training group. Ryan Elrod, who won the masters online qualifier for 35-39 year olds is my training partner. Not only is he a phenomenal athlete but also fun to be around so I look forward to training more often than when I was training alone in NYC. Plus some of his training partners have jumped into my workouts when he isn’t there which is always nice. Gyms in NYC just opened this week and you’re required to wear a mask while training which would not be ideal. I’m thankful that is not the case here in Vegas.
The big picture: Pearce is often overlooked when it comes to be being mentioned amongst the top CrossFitters in the world. A gymnast by trade she has definitely earned her place amongst that group just based on her performances. For the second-straight season she finished on the podium at Wodapalooza joined by two of the biggest stars in the sport, Toomey and Sara Sigmundsdottir. In 2019 she placed second behind Toomey and ahead of Sigmundsdottir. This past year she and Sigmundsdottir switched places. Despite those finishes and her Games performances she hasn’t received the fanfare of others, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Pearce.
- “If I had to guess, I think this is because I’ve never been on the podium. I have placed in the top 10 the last 4 years but never the top 3. At least people remember my outstanding performance on Mary last year!”
A podium finish at the Games could change all of that for her and the changes she has made and her continued consistency could prove to be the deciding factors.
- “I have to do what I am capable of and not make any big mistakes. Also not having a one-rep max clean would work in my favor. Over this past year, I’ve put in a lot of work so I’m excited to compete and see where I stand compared to the other amazing athletes!”
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