CrossFit Games

A CrossFit Games Ticket 12 Years In the Making

May 16, 2021 by
Image Credit: Marcelo Kodato (https://www.instagram.com/marcelo.kodato/)
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A quick perusal of the team leaderboards yields Fourmixx Brazil as a heavy favorite to take one of the two team spots at the Games for South America. 

The crew from Etto CrossFit could become the first team from Brazil to qualify for the CrossFit Games, but doing so would also fulfill a more than decade-long quest for one team member in particular – two-time fittest woman in Brazil Anita Pravatti. 

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Pravatti began her CrossFit journey in 2009, nearly a decade before Brazil would become the second largest CrossFit market in the world boasting over a 1,000 affiliates and hosting Regional, Sanctional, and Semifinal events. 

  • Health was the priority of her entry into the community, as a 23-year-old woman struggling to overcome a bevvy of health issues that had plagued her teenage years and into young adulthood. 
  • Pravatti: “I had panic disorder and was bulimic, and when I finished a WOD I felt so strong that I took that into my personal life. When I discovered this internal strength, I managed to get rid of those diseases that I carried since my adolescence.”

Humble beginnings: It wasn’t long before Pravatti made the leap from making medicine balls out of sandbags and molding PVC pipe into makeshift gymnastics rings — Brazil only had one affiliate and equipment was hard to come by — to competing in the sport of fitness and representing Brazil on a larger stage. 

  • Pravatti first qualified for Regionals in 2012, before improving to finish 4th at the 2014 Latin America Regional, just three spots shy of the lone qualifying spot that was granted to Latin America at the time. 
  • Pravatti was one of a select group of favorites for the spot in 2015, when a change to the system grouped Latin America in with the South Regional and all but erased Latin America’s chances of a Games spot as a still developing region.

Brazil was starting to explode as a CrossFit hotspot, with affiliate growth going from just 26 affiliates in 2012, to 526 in 2015, and Pravatti was at the forefront as one of the early adopters and top athletes on the women’s side.

  • Over the next two seasons, she would notch her career best finish worldwide in the Open as well as lay claim to the title of Fittest Woman in Brazil in 2016 and 2017, but with the combined Regional system, the closest she would come to a Games berth was a 15th place finish — the highest of any  Brazilian woman — at the 2017 South Regional. 
  • As Brazil solidified itself as the second largest affiliate market, Pravatti was the top woman in a community that was also the first outside of the United States to eclipse the 1,000 affiliate barrier.

To start the 2018 season, another switch in systems gave Latin America its Regional back, and Sao Paulo, Brazil was chosen as the host site for the 18.1 announcement that would kick off the year. 

  • Pravatti would be selected as one of the Brazilian representatives to throw down in the announcement in front of the home crowd alongside Sam Briggs and Kristin Holte. Despite the dedicated Games spot, Pravatti would finish 5th at Regionals, with the lone spot going to Mexico’s Brenda Castro.

Fast forward to 2021, and the chaos of the past two seasons has given rise to a host of new talent in South America on the individual side, with Argentinians Melina Rodridguez and Sasha Nievas, and Pravatti’s countrywoman Lari Cunha taking the reins as the favorites to make it to Madison.

  • Despite the shift in power on the individual side, Pravatti’s Games chances have gained new life in the form of the team division after her Fourmixx Brazil team dominated the Quarterfinals in South America.
  • The Fourmixx team won two of the five tests and finished with half the points of their next competitor, and more importantly, beat the 3rd place team (South America gets two spots) in every single test. 

In less than a month one of Brazil’s trailblazers on the women’s side will have a chance to earn her first ticket to the Games as an athlete, and she will do so on home soil, albeit virtually in the Brazil CrossFit Championship.

  • I am very grateful for everything that CrossFit has given me, from the national titles, to participating in a lot of awesome international competitions. Nothing is more important than health and strength to show others that you can change your destiny. 

More than a decade after her journey started, Anita Pravatti stands on the doorstep of finally getting to represent her country on the sport’s biggest stage. 

“Going to the Games would be a crowning achievement of everything I have been able to build to date.”

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