Jonathan Varela Overcomes Childhood Challenges to Represent Costa Rica at CrossFit Games

August 24, 2022 by
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Valera

“It feels amazing to be carrying the flag of my two countries, Costa Rica and the USA. Even when I would be the only one on the field representing my country, I (don’t) feel alone, I know there are a lot of people truly happy for me and giving me real genuine support,” 2022 Games Athlete Jonathan Varela said. 

The details: Varela, who finished eighth in the Men’s 40-44 division, represented Costa Rica as the country’s sole athlete in Madison after a long journey to get there. 

He started CrossFit nearly nine years ago, decided he wanted to compete on the big stage after spectating at the 2016 CrossFit Games, and started following Mayhem Athlete programming two years ago to pursue it. Though Varela recognizes his progress over the last nine years, he attributes much of his success to the challenging upbringing and lessons learned throughout his childhood. 

  • “I had a lot of obstacles growing up,” Varela said. From severe asthma to financial issues, which pushed him to work as a child and decide whether he should take the bus or eat some days, Varela experienced a wide range of uphill climbs in his childhood. Now on the other side of it, though, Varela is stronger. “I am not afraid of change and never liked to be in my comfort zone all the time. That is why I have made changes in my life to chase dreams and goals. Even when it seemed like it was impossible.”

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