CrossFit Games

Justin Medeiros Continues Rise to Crossfit Elite With Second-Straight Games Berth

June 8, 2021 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC
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Fresh off a third-place finish at the 2020 CrossFit Games, Justin Medeiros faced extra scrutiny entering his sophomore season. He had new sponsors supporting him and raised expectations as he prepared for Semifinals. 

Medeiros and CrossFit Fort Vancouver head coach Adam Neiffer didn’t let the noise distract them and took a calm and collected approach en route to a third-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge

Remind me: The 2020 Rookie of the Year, Medeiros punched his ticket to the CrossFit Games with a strong performance in Stage One. He then impressed, competing against veterans such as Mat Fraser and Noah Ohlsen, taking third place in his first trip to the Games. Medeiros went from an underrated athlete to a rookie sensation. 

Fast-forward to 2021 and Medeiros headed to Knoxville for Semifinals. He faced off with a stacked field of athletes that included Travis Mayer, Scott Panchik, Samuel Kwant, Ben Smith, and Jayson Hopper among others. He performed consistently over the weekend, never finishing outside the top 10, taking second place in two workouts, and winning Kratos to cap off his weekend.

Despite facing a stacked field of athletes, Medeiros and Neiffer opted to list the MACC as their preferred destination for Semifinals after Quarterfinals came to an end. There were two reasons that led to this decision, starting with a desire to simply hit the competition floor and get to work as soon as humanly possible.

  • “Our goal is for Justin to win the CrossFit Games,” Neiffer told the Morning Chalk Up after the MACC. “We just worked backward from there and just really took it one step at a time and did not try to, you know, put the cart in front of the horse.”
  • “After quarterfinals, we looked kind of at the schedule and his options for Semifinals. And we really looked at a perspective of like, what gives him the best chance to qualify for the CrossFit Games. I’m looking at the schedule it was like ‘hey, we’re for sure gonna go for it in the very first Semifinal.’”
  • “There were a couple of reasons for that. Number one, we both used to compete at the West Coast Regionals which were always like the last or the second to last week originally. You can see everybody else qualify and be waiting around for the opportunity. And we were like ‘hey, let’s get it done. Punch that ticket ASAP.’”

A veteran mindset: As a younger athlete coming off his first Games appearance, Medeiros could have let himself get caught up in the hype to his own detriment. However, Neiffer explained that his athlete avoided this potential pitfall. They had discussions leading up to the MACC about blocking out the noise and avoiding focusing on the other athletes, but Neiffer also knew that Medeiros walked around with a veteran mindset.

  • “Justin’s actually really good about [focusing on himself] just naturally,” Neiffer said.Like he’s really good about staying in his own lane and focusing on the things that he can control and not worrying about those that are out of his control.”
  • “I don’t know how apparent it was maybe from an outside perspective, but just the growth that he had mentally from last year’s Games to this year’s Semifinals. He was a different athlete in terms of just his headspace, his mindset, his confidence. That was pretty cool to see because it really hasn’t been very long.”

Perfect Timing: Once Neiffer and Medeiros made the decision to take on the MACC, they realized that the date of the Knoxville trip fit perfectly into their desired schedule. The first week of Semifinals fell nearly two months after Quarterfinals and two months before the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. This timing gave them the opportunity to hit training hard for a few weeks, deload, hit training hard for another few weeks, and then taper before heading to Madison. 

  • “We do it right. It feels like he is in that second-third week of hard training,” Neiffer explained. “It feels like he’s in the tunnel, it feels like he’s training hard. But then by the time we back off a little bit and take care of travel and get out to compete, he feels hungry and really excited and prepared and ready to put the beat down on it.”

As part of the training process, Medeiros and Neiffer looked at the events and did some pre-competition tests. They did not particularly circle any workouts as “sure things” but just examined the weekend as a whole. Although Medeiros did have his sights set on one particular day. 

  • “Just looking at the workouts, like [Medeiros] was really excited for day three,” Neiffer said. “I think he felt probably more confident on that day than any of the other ones. He was nervous for that max snatch event, mainly because the stakes are so high as the first event of the weekend.”
  • “You haven’t competed live for a long time and really haven’t competed live with fans and in front of a crowd and in that environment since 2019. But Justin lives well in competition. And what better environment to PR in than competition?”

The bottom line: Medeiros turned in one of his strongest performances at the MACC, booking his trip to the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games while facing off with some of the sport’s biggest names. However, he is not yet done. He and Neiffer will head out to Madison roughly a week before the Games to familiarize themselves with the time zone and the environment, preparing them to hit the competition floor ready to roll and fight for the title of Fittest Man on Earth. 

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