CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Sydney Michalyshen
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. For four long hours. That’s how rookie CrossFit Games qualifier Sydney Michalyshen spent her Sunday afternoon after finishing the last two workouts of the online Atlas Games Semifinal.
“I knew it was going to be close. That last event was basically going to determine who got that last spot. It was anyone’s game,” said 21 year-old Michalyshen, an athlete who has only been doing CrossFit since 2018, and has never even competed at either a Regionals or Sanctionals event.
After four hours of sitting at the kitchen table, heart rate racing, hitting the refresh button with her parents and her sister by her side, finally, at 3 PM her time in Winnipeg, Manitoba, it happened: The leaderboard was updated and Michalyshen found herself in fifth place overall, snagging the finally qualifying spot by 11 points over another young Canadian, 18 year-old Anikha Greer.
“I was super emotional. I started crying, but I don’t think it really sunk in until two or three days later. My first training session back is when I think it really hit me. I was like, ‘OK, you’re training for the Games now,’” explained Michalyshen, a former competitive gymnast and college volleyball player, who trains with coach Justin Webber at Team Robo Strength and Conditioning in Winnipeg.
Though she was devoted to the leaderboard once the online competition ended, Michalyshen said she tried not to pay too much attention to it before that.
“All you can really do is focus on yourself, so I was trying not to focus too much on it,” she said. That being said, she did take note of being in second place heading into day three, which she said built her confidence going into the final two events.
One big thing: The biggest surprise of the weekend for the full-time athlete, part-time University of Manitoba student, was her performance on Workout 4 — a snatch ladder — which she ended up winning.
- “I got to practice all the workouts beforehand, and that was my worst one. I ripped my hands and was super frustrated, so it was the workout I wanted redemption on and it went extremely well,” she said.
- Worth noting: Michalyshen’s score on Workout 4 — 54 reps — was the best score across all five online Semifinals, something that, considering how inexperienced she is, has helped her believe she belongs at the Games.
- “It was hard to realize that I can actually do this without much experience, but I also knew if I brought my best, it could be good enough. So I’m just going to focus on myself and what I can bring to the table,” she said.
10 Questions with Michalyshen
What is your goal for your first CrossFit Games?
Michalyshen: “I’m most looking forward to competing in person. I’m a very competitive person so getting to stand next to everyone in a live event like the CrossFit Games is something I have only dreamed of. I’m excited to get to put myself out there for the first time…My goal for myself is honestly just to enjoy every second of it, have so much fun and gain experience and confidence, and just everything what I can do.”
What is your max clean and jerk, snatch, deadlift and squat?
Snatch: 200 pounds
Clean and Jerk: 235 pounds
Deadlift: 400 pounds
Back squat: 315 pounds
Who do you talk to on the phone the most?
Michalyshen: “Probably my coach (Justin Webber)…If I don’t see him one day, I’m always on the phone with him talking about how training went that day. Anything like that, he’s just a phone call away.”
What is your go-to breakfast?
Michalyshen: A cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and honey, a banana and an omelette with one full egg and six egg whites.
Do you count your macros?
Michalyshen: Yes. 175 grams protein, 100 grams of fat and 450 grams of carbohydrates.
What are your strengths as an athlete?
Michalyshen: “I would definitely say anything with a barbell. I do really well in strength events, and anything with mid-range weight for high reps. I also like high-rep gymnastics. I have worked hard on that.”
Who is your favourite CrossFit Games athlete?
Michalyshen: “Katrin Davidsdottir. I have read her book four times. I watch her and Ben (Bergeron) on podcasts. She’s the person I look up to a lot.”
What three apps on your phone can you not live without (other than email and text)
Michalyshen: MyFItnessPal (for tracking macros), Instagram and WHOOP.
What’s your favorite cheat meal?
Michalyshen: That’s really hard. I love desserts. Anything sweet. Candy, desserts, chocolates.
What’s something you want the CrossFit community to know about you?
Michalyshen: “Actually, the phonetic spelling of my last name because it has never been said right.” (Michalyshen is pronounced Mick-A-Lish-Shin)