A Five-Year Journey to Madison: Meet Games Rookie Rebecca Fuselier
For many in the CrossFit community, the recent Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in Knoxville, TN was the first time they took note of 22-year-old CrossFit Games qualifier Rebecca Fuselier.
But for the 2022 Games rookie, the road to earning her ticket to Madison, WI has been a long five-year journey of patience, perseverance, and having faith that her time would eventually come.
After competing as a Level 10 gymnast, Fuselier decided she was done with the sport and “my mom dragged me to the gym,” said Fuselier about how she started CrossFit at the age of 13.
Three years later, Fuselier, who has been coached by Matt McCraney at CrossFit Bolt in Coppell, TX since Day 1, competed at the 2016 CrossFit Games as a teenager, placing ninth, and a year later she placed 10th in the 16-17-year-old division.
Since then, Fuselier has never stopped competing, and had her sights set on getting back to the Games. But unlike the teen phenoms we tend to take for granted like Haley Adams and Mal O’Brien—who made the transition from the teen to individual division look seamless—Fuselier’s journey was a slower one.
In 2018, Fuselier competed in the Open hoping to qualify for Regionals, but missed the mark. The following year, she competed at one Sanctional competition “and got my butt kicked big time,” she said.
The following year, 2020, was essentially a wash for Fuselier due to the global pandemic, and then in 2021, Fuselier was finally able to break through to Semifinals, placing a respectable 12th at the MACC.
She admits it was frustrating sometimes going from being “at the top of the world” in the teen division to having to start over again and “climb your way back up,” but taking a long-term approach to the sport made it easier, she explained.
And although watching athletes like Adams and O’Brien quickly transition to the elite division could have added to her frustration, Fuselier chose to use them as inspiration instead.
“They’re like unicorns out there…I competed with Haley in my last year in the teenage division…but it’s also really cool because I look up to someone like her, who has been able to jump right into it and it it’s still inspiring, because I was like, “I want to be right there with her,’” Fuselier said.
She added: “I just knew where my body was at and it was just going to take a little bit longer to get there.”
Fuselier’s Advice to Other Teens
Fuselier’s advice to other teens who are on the slower path to transition into the elite division is to enjoy the journey you’re on and embrace the idea of chipping away slowly.
“Pick one focus at a time every year. That’s kind of how I stayed in it. I picked one thing to focus on and get better at,” said Fuselier, adding that her two biggest focuses in recent years have been getting stronger and improving her mental game.
“Coming out of the teenage division, it became a big mental game. You’re competing against the world…so mentally at first it was very hard to stay in my lane and not get distracted by social media and the comparison game,” Fuselier explained.
She added: “Create yourself a plan. Take it one year at a time, and put this new tool in your pocket. And then next year, grab another tool, develop it, make it stronger, put it in your pocket. Just keep putting tools in your pocket.”
As a silver lining, as a result of how long her journey was to get back to the Games, Fuselier said she was able to appreciate qualifying to the Games a whole lot more.
“When it was all said and done, I can’t tell you the emotion that hit me. I was ugly crying on TV, but it was so much hard work and it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, it actually came together.’ Still to this day, it’s almost unbelievable,” she said.
And although she has finally made it, for Fuselier, this is only just the beginning.
“I’m in this for the long run. I realize, even right now, I have plenty more years until I actually peak at my strongest self,” Fuselier said.
“The best is still yet to come.”