CrossFit Games

Games Veteran Dani Horan a Class Act in her Final Competition at the Atlas Games

June 12, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Raph Durand
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The other athletes in her heat finished their final barbell complex attempt and exited the floor the moment the heat was over.

But Dani Horan did not.

The five-time CrossFit Games veteran took the time to diligently strip the weight off her barbell on Saturday night at the Atlas Games in Montreal, Quebec, leaving it in its default position with 45-pound bumper plates and collars. Ready for the next heat.

She did the same after the toes-to-bar and sandbag clean event on Friday, taking the time to place her sandbag back at its starting position after she completed the workout.

And after the muscle-up, burpee and snatch event: Horan rolled her barbell back to its original place, ready for the athlete in the next heat.

For Horan, it’s a simple gesture of appreciation to the volunteers.

“I just feel like the volunteers do enough for us, so any little thing we can do to help them out we should. And it’s not that hard to do,” Horan shrugged.

It’s a small thing. But sometimes the small things are the big things.

A Decade of Horan

Horan has always been a quiet, not super flashy competitor, but a consistent one, who, after 10 years in the sport, has a sparkling resume.

The 34-year-old has qualified to five CrossFit Games as an individual—2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018—and has three top-20 Games finishes. She has also competed at the Games with a team twice—2012 and 2019.

After a decade in the sport, Horan made the decision earlier this year that this season would be her last, meaning the Atlas Games in Montreal, Quebec this weekend, where she placed 15th was Horan’s final competition.

“I have been doing this for 10 years now and my husband and I own a gym and the amount you have to train now to compete at an elite level…I can’t commit that much time. And I want to be able to give more time to my community,” Horan said of her decision to retire.

And although she would have loved to have qualified to one more Games in her final season, Horan knows she was lucky to even be competing at all.

Horan has been rehabbing from an elbow injury in recent months, one that required complete reconstructive surgery. In fact, she was still wearing a brace in January, and event 3 on the weekend was the first time Horan has done 30 muscle-ups since her injury.

Many athletes might have chosen not to compete at Semifinals knowing they weren’t at their fittest, but not Horan.

“This year has been super hard, but I chose to do this. Literally every step of the way, I didn’t know where I would be. Like I barely qualified for everything. So I chose to (compete here) knowing how hard this would be,” Horan said.

“I know where I have been and I know where I would want to be, and I’m just not there. And so I’m just doing something that’s uncomfortable, but I think it’s good to do things that are uncomfortable to help me grow,” she added.

A Fitting Goodbye

The final event of Horan’s career on the weekend in Montreal was one she was familiar with—10 legless rope climb event that was first programmed at the 2014 Regionals.

In 2014, Horan finished the workout in a time of 7:05. Eight years later, on Sunday, Horan finished nearly two minutes faster in 5:07, leaving it all out on the floor.

This time, though, after her last event of her career, there was no equipment for her to put away.

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