Devyn Kim Squeezed in a Final College Project During the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games

September 19, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Devyn Kim:
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When Devyn Kim’s CrossFit Invictus teammates were getting massages and hitting the ice baths to recover between events at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, she was hitting the books and finishing a final sociology project.

“My class ended the Tuesday following the Games, so I had a couple homework assignments I needed to do and then a final project,” said the 20-year-old kinesiology college student.

“I tried to get ahead before, but it didn’t work,” she added, laughing. 

So from Wednesday to Sunday during the week of the Games, Kim spent her nights focused on her schooling in lieu of devoting her time to rest and recovery for the next day’s grueling events.

Clearly Kim’s commitment to her college degree amidst the biggest competition in her sport didn’t affect her or her team’s performance. They went on to finish third in the world.

Choosing to Run her Own Race

Though only 20, Kim is already a veteran in CrossFit, a sport she discovered when she was just 8 years old.

By the time Kim was 12, she was already competing in local competitions in California, eventually qualifying to the Games in 2016 and placing seventh as a 14 year-old.

Kim went on to compete in the following three Games as a teenager, placing second, fourth and fourth respectively in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

That’s where her journey started to stray from what her peers—athletes like recent second place finisher Mal O’Brien and four-time Games athlete Haley Adams—chose to do with their lives.

O’Brien and Adams “are phenomenal…they’re amazing,” Kim said, but she ultimately knew that their path as full-time, professional athletes wasn’t the path that was going to be best for her after graduating high school.

So instead of devoting herself entirely to her sport, and to individual competition, Kim decided it was more important for her to carve a career path for herself to pursue post-CrossFit, which essentially led her to choose the team route and become a full-time college student. 

Games athlete Julie Foucher, now a medical doctor, was her inspiration as a young teen in the sport, Kim explained. 

“I looked up to Julie Foucher…how she went through med school and all that, and I was like, ‘That’s awesome. I want that to be me.’ So it was never on my mind to fully pursue CrossFit and not go to school, because obviously I do want to have a career after (CrossFit),” said Kim, whose long-term plan is to become a physical therapist. 

Today, on top of being a full-time student who still finds the time to train twice a day with her team in San Diego, Kim also works on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, often until midnight, as a server at Texas Roadhouse.

The Big Picture

It’s easy as an athlete, especially as a teenager, to do what everyone else is doing—to do what people expect you to do—but Kim hasn’t let those expectations dictate her decisions, as she’s focused on the bigger picture.

Ultimately, Kim knows she is still young and can return to individual competition when the time is right. 

“One day that will be me and I know it will be me, because once I set my mind to something, that’s what I want, and that has always been the goal,” she said. But in the meantime, she’s focused on “trying not to get caught up” with expectations from others. 

“I’m only 20, and the team is a lot of fun (right now). With my busy schedule, it makes me want to go to the gym…It really just motivates me and we have a great time,” she said. 

“My time will come,” she added. 

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about that final project she was working on in Madison…

She got an A.

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