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“It wasn’t not stressful.” Caroline Conners and Austin Spencer Compete in Atlas Games After Wedding

June 27, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Bill Ellis Photography
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When Caroline Conners and Austin Spencer met in 2014, they had no idea that eight years later they would be competing on the Semifinal floor at the same time—as individuals, but also—as newlyweds.

After pursuing their competitive CrossFit dreams side-by-side for six years, Conners and Spencer officially tied the knot on May 21, 2022,  just three weeks prior to flying to Montreal for the fourth and final North American CrossFit Games Semifinal.

Wedding Planning during the Competition Season

Planning a wedding is no easy task. From booking a venue to mailing invitations and everything in between, the average American couple will spend 528 hours planning the big day (as Morning Chalk Up’s own Tommy Marquez is currently learning).

Add that both the bride and the groom are competitive CrossFit athletes training for Semifinals, and a whole new level of chaos is achieved— one that Caroline Conners and Austin Spencer fully embraced.

Timeline

  • March 24–27: Individual Quarterfinals
  • May 21: Wedding
  • June 8: Fly to Montreal
  • June 10–12: Atlas Games Semifinal

“It wasn’t not stressful,” Conners shared. “But we knew going into it that we would have to manage and deal with some busy days, so we were prepared to take each day as it came.”

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A post shared by Caroline Spencer (@caroline__spencer)

Preparing for the Atlas Games

After the vows were made and the glasses clinked, it was time to shift focus.

“There was a lot of teamwork that went into preparing us both for (the Atlas Games),” said Conners, who is coached by Drew Crandall at Misfit Athletics in Portland, ME. Even as Austin continued to work his full time job as an arborist, Conners was confident in her husband’s preparation, noting it was a particularly “ground breaking” year for him in training.

There was very much an ‘in this together’ feel this season,” she reflected, “and the thought that only one of us would come out with a Games ticket never crossed my mind.”

Caroline, who made her rookie appearance at the Games last season, was a veteran walking into the relatively young women’s field in Montreal.

For Austin, it was a different story. Perennial Games athletes Patrick Vellner, Jeffrey Adler, Alexandre Caron, and Alex Vigneault left little room at the top of the Atlas Games leaderboard.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Caroline’s name is announced. She took third place overall and will stand on top of the podium. But most importantly, she’s going back to the CrossFit Games.

Now, it’s Austin’s turn.

The moment of pride is quickly replaced with something much less settling.

“I thought I was going to vomit.”

Conners watches as her husband lines up for the final heat of the weekend. He stands in sixth place with one event to go, 13 points outside of qualifying to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

This, she says, is the hardest part of loving a professional athlete— “not being able to control the outcome for the other person.”

Photo Credit: Ted Bonenfant @misfitmediaman

Just three minutes after they begin, the top men in the competition have already crossed the finish line.

Austin Spencer went on to complete “2014 Regional Event 5” in an official 3 minutes and 3 seconds, earning sixth place in the event and sixth place overall. Canadian competitor Nycolas Joyal crossed just three seconds sooner to secure the final qualifying spot to Madison.

“It was heartbreaking,” Conners shared with the Morning Chalk Up. “I was proud of what I had accomplished, but in that moment my heart was so sad that I couldn’t share that feeling with my husband.”

For the second year in a row, Spencer will compete in the virtual Last Chance Qualifier—an opportunity awarded only to the 30 men (and women) sitting closest to each semifinal’s qualification line.

Whether this week results in a CrossFit Games ticket or not, Conners is happy for her husband and the work he’s put in.

“He did absolutely everything he could have in an insane field of talent,” she said. “We’re all incredibly proud of him.”

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