Caroline Lambray Talks Being a Female Coach Among the Men at the Atlas Games
Justin Cotler. Ben Bergeron. Shane Orr. Jami Tikkanen. John Singleton. When we think about the most well-known, accomplished coaches in the sport of CrossFit, it’s easy to come up with a list of men.
But at the Atlas Games this weekend in Montreal, Quebec, there are two rare female coaches on hand, and they’re hard to ignore: Michele Letendre and Caroline Lambray.
Remind me: Letendre is best known for being four-time Games medalist Pat Vellner’s coach, and Lambray for being the long-time coach of three-time Games athlete Jeff Adler, but this weekend both coaches have a second athlete in the field, as well.
- Freya Moosbrugger, who sits in fourth after two days of competition, is a Letendre athlete, and Benoit Boulanger, currently in 16th, is coached by Lambray.
One big thing: When Lambray first started coaching Adler, she said she didn’t even really realize she was one of just a handful of women to coach Semifinals and Games-level athletes, but the better he got and the more competitions they went to, she started to realize the disproportionate male to female coach ratio.
- “It really hit me in 2020, because there were just five men and five women at the Games at the Ranch. The only other woman coach was Tasia Percevecz (who was there to support Haley Adams),” Lambray said, adding that this made her hyper aware that she was, not just one of the only female coaches at that level, but also the only black coach.
“Even in the corporate world, we know women don’t take as much risk. We don’t ask for raises, or we don’t put ourselves out there…If you think you have the ability (as a coach) then do it.”Caroline Lambray
Lambray’s Message: Lambray would love to see more female coaches in the mix and urges up-and-coming athletes to “look around for who can provide you the best coaching, the best programming, and there’s nothing better or worse about working with a girl or a guy.“
- That being said, she also said she doesn’t think it comes down to more athletes choosing male coaches. Lambray thinks it’s more about women coaches being hesitant to “take a risk” and put themselves out there.
- “Even in the corporate world, we know women don’t take as much risk. We don’t ask for raises, or we don’t put ourselves out there. So I don’t think it’s necessarily the athletes. I think it’s women. Are we taking that risk? Are we trying to find those opportunities? If you think you have the ability (as a coach) then do it.”
- Putting herself out there is exactly how she landed Adler, who today is also her romantic partner. She had been coaching for a while, saw his potential and knew she was a good coach. So Lambray approached Adler and asked him if she could take him on. Fast forward to today, and Adler is two events away from qualifying to his fourth Games.
The future: As much success as Lambray has had already, she wants more.
- “It would be cool to be the first woman coach (to have her athlete) win the CrossFit Games. That’s something that’s on my bucket list,” Lambray said from the warm-up area at Atlas Games, with Letendre standing just a few meters away.
“I know I’m competing with Michele,” she added with a smile.