Austin Spencer and Nick Mathew Share Mixed Emotions on Backfilled Path to the CrossFit Games: “I thought my season was over”

July 12, 2022 by
Photo Credit: MisFit Athletics (left) | PRVN Fitness (right)

Nick Mathew was mopping floors alone at his affiliate, CrossFit Minnetonka, when he got a phone call that changed everything.

It had only been eight days since the affiliate owner and head coach took 4th place in the Last Chance Qualifier, putting an end to his 2022 season.

He answered the phone call—mop in hand—and listened patiently as a CrossFit Games staff member informed him there had been a violation from the Granite Games men’s field, and there was potential for Mathew (the 6th place finisher) to qualify to the 2022 CrossFit Games through a backfill invitation.

  • He was advised to return to training with more information to follow. “They told me to put down the beer and pizza and get back to my training,” he laughed.

“Luckily,” he continued, “I had already been keeping up with training anyway.” After receiving his LCQ results, the PRVN athlete gave himself two days off before he went back to training with the goal of hitting a few off-season competitions later this year.

  • “I want to go to Wodapalooza again, and give Dubai a run,” he said. “So I kept up my training. All of a sudden [CrossFit] messages me, and here we are.”

For Austin Spencer, it may take a little grease in the wheel to get going again. “I wasn’t doing any training,” said the Atlas Games athlete. “I thought I was in my off season.”

  • “Until now, it was relatively rare for an individual athlete to [test positive for performance enhancing drugs], especially from a regionals or semifinals competition,” said Spencer. “So I really thought my season was done.”

Spencer was at home when his wife and fellow Games athlete, Caroline Spencer, called and told him to check Instagram. “I didn’t really understand what was happening…it took me a minute to read Nyck’s post and digest it all and understand what it all meant, that I could potentially be going to the Games.”

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