Trying to Get Back to the Games: How COVID hurt Mayra Brandt’s Chances of Competing Two Consecutive Years
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many athletes to go through change and adversity. More than a year later, life is starting to return to normal and that includes the sport of CrossFit. But there are still residual effects of COVID-19. Just ask Masters athlete Mayra Brandt, who got the virus nearly a week before needing to be at her prime to compete in the Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ).
- “I got a call from the Health department and was positive for COVID-19. They asked about my symptoms and the timing of everything and concluded that my quarantine would last until Thursday, May 6th, the first day of [the AGOQ]. I cried, I couldn’t believe it.”
A bumpy road: Brandt has been to the Games twice but keeps fighting to get back to Madison.
- 2017: Games Masters 35-39 Division, 5th place.
- 2018: Games Masters 35-39 Division, 5th place.
- 2019: Finished 24th overall in the Open, missed a Games ticket by 14 spots after she recovered from two knee surgeries.
- 2020: Qualified for the Games Masters 40-45 division but was cancelled due to COVID.
Remind me: Last season, CrossFit HQ revoked Games invitations from over 250 athletes as changes emerged to try and make some sort of “pandemic Games” still happen. Additionally, athletes who had qualified for the Masters or Teen division had no Games at all. Meaning, Brandt’s ticket back to Madison was null and void.
This was just the beginning of how the pandemic would have an impact on her.
Brandt was determined to earn her place back on the Games floor in 2021 until she came down with COVID a week and a half before the start of Quarterfinals. Still, she came out of quarantine on day one of Quarterfinals and was ready to fight.
- “The timing sucked, but my quarantine finished in just enough time to let me compete. So, regardless of how I felt, I was going to! I love competing and this is what I train for all year,” said Brant.
- “I knew after the first day that I had too many points and I most likely was not going to make it. But I’ve competed before with everything going against me so I knew I just had to take it one workout at a time and fight as hard as I could.”
During Brandt’s quarantine she wasn’t able to workout much due to her symptoms. She said, anytime she would workout, she would become incredibly fatigued to the point where she would have to spend the rest of the day in bed. With no appetite to fuel her workouts, and congestion that lasted through the AGOQ, tackling those workouts was an uphill battle.
- “I definitely felt weak so the max front squat was extremely difficult. I only hit one attempt.”
- “The handstand push-up workout was tough because my lungs just felt different. It was like Fran cough, plus plus.”
- “But the worst workout was the GHD one for sure. I felt so weak and felt like my whole body was malfunctioning.”
It wasn’t all bad though. Brandt was able to take a 15th place finish in workout three with cleans and double-unders. Her best finish though was the final workout with overhead squats and burpee box jumps-overs where she took 7th. Overall, Brandt finished 45th in the AGOQ.
So what does the 2022 season have in store for Brandt? A fight to punch her ticket to the Games but also just competing more in general.
- “Well, I’m not going anywhere and I still love competing so I’ll just keep training and go for it again next year!”
- “I am competing at The Bacon Beatdown in the Elite division in mid-June. And now that I won’t be competing at the Games, any other competitions I do will be based on time of year like Masters Fitness Collective, Legends, Wodapalooza are some that I always look into but I am always down to compete anywhere!”