Nycolas Joyal Leads Day 1, Joins Battle of French Canadians Fighting for Tickets at Atlas Games
While we expected Patrick Vellner to be near the top of the leaderboard with a gaggle of French Canadians challenging him at the Atlas Games in Montreal, Quebec, Nycolas Joyal wasn’t one of the men on the list. Yet, after back-to-back event wins, Joyal leads the way after Day 1, 12 points ahead of Vellner.
The details: Joyal put forth a quiet and steady effort during the first six minutes of Event 1—a Ski Erg, parallette handstand push-up and heavy front rack lunge event—but he was relentless on the final 90-foot lunge, simply refusing to drop the barbell as much as both Vellner and Jeff Adler did, and ultimately hanging on for an event win.
- After the event, Joyal admitted he didn’t really know what he was capable of on Event 1, telling the Morning Chalk Up, “I train mostly by myself and don’t look too much at Instagram, so I didn’t know what to expect.”
- The second event was a similar story in that Joyal hung back behind other athletes, including Vellner, for the first three rounds of 24 toes-to-bar and and 12 150-pound sandbag cleans. But then once again, he made a move at the beginning of the fourth round, taking the lead for the first time during the final 24 toes-to-bar, and finishing with another event win.
- “All year round, I just never missed any part of any training. I just put 100 percent of my effort into everything I am doing,” Joyal said in a post-Event 2 interview about the key to his success so far this weekend.
Remind me: While relatively unknown, Joyal isn’t new to CrossFit competition. The 28-year-old who lives just outside of Montreal, competed as an individual at the East Regional in both 2017 and 2018, placing 15th and 13th respectively.
- Last year, Joyal placed 14th at the online Atlas Games, and explained this is his first in-person competition since Wodapalooza in 2020.
The bottom line: There might still be two days of competition and four events to go, but the confidence, poise and fitness Joyal has showcased in the first two events makes it impossible to ignore him as a legitimate threat this weekend.
- And even though Joyal said he “didn’t have any expectations whatsoever coming into this weekend,” when asked about his goals after his first event win, he didn’t hesitate to reply: “Top five. Top five.”