Why Non-Elite Athletes Choose TYR Wodapalooza

January 10, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

With elite divisions stacked to the brim with Games-level talent on both the individual and team side, all eyes will turn to Miami this week to watch the stars of the sport compete for the first time in 2023. However, TYR Wodapalooza reaches far beyond the top 40 on their roster with over 30 divisions (plus an hour-long Gauntlet event for spectators). 

The competition prides itself on bringing the entire community together providing space for athletes of all skill levels, abilities, and backgrounds on one of the biggest competition floors in the CrossFit space. 

But what draws these athletes to a competition as big as Wodapalooza?

Team “Young & Free Only 17” has no fear of taking on the big stage–though, as the team name suggests, members Jenna Michellotti, Emily Meyer, and Hailey Rolfe are only 17-years-old. Each of the girls also have Games experience under their belts in the teenage division. But coming off of a stressful season rounding out their years of teen eligibility and now into their senior years of high school, the girls weren’t looking for a big solo competition in the middle of the offseason. 

  • “I honestly wasn’t originally planning on doing Wodapalooza this year to not add any stress to this time of the season,” Michellotti said. The girls decided that competing as a team would take some of the pressure off and allow them to focus on having fun during competition. “I’m looking forward to the weather, having fun with my team, and doing a fun competition that will lead nicely into the 2023 season.”

The team will compete in the RX Women division, and while Michellotti says she was originally slightly disappointed that they didn’t qualify for the Elite division, she knows it’ll help reinforce that this is an opportunity for fun and learning, not just to perform at their peak. 

While “Young & Free Only 17” is taking a breather and soaking in the Miami sun, One athlete, Cole Anderson, will make his first ever competition appearance in the CrossFit space after a major life transition. 

After playing football for Bakersfield College, Anderson found CrossFit to fill the competitive void and has gone all-in over the past year. While he’s excited to prove himself athletically and get his competitive CrossFit career rolling, he realizes the gravity of Wodapalooza and is ready to experience it all in the Intermediate Men’s division.

  • Anderson: “I’ve never been to Miami, let alone Wodapalooza, so my main focus is just soaking in the first of basically everything.”

To make the cross-country trip, Anderson and his team are participating in a trial-run of a sponsorship program with Podium, Mat Fraser’s protein and supplement brand. The team, along with other athletes participating in the program, receive training and competition fuel from the company as well as a discount code that helps them raise money for their trip. 

Image Credit: Podium

This plan will help the brand extend their reach beyond the elite. While their roster of sponsored athletes includes Justin Medeiros, Emma Lawson, and Ellie Turner, Podium is interested in reaching a different demographic. 

  • “(We wanted) a larger group of people that are more ingrained in the everyday of CrossFit – they’re in the gym five days a week, they’re training, they’re competing in local competitions on the weekend,” Podium director of community and events Shea Williams said. “We wanted to find a way to connect directly with that group, and Wodapalooza presented a really unique way (to do so).”

Whether taking a break from their regular training routine to soak in the Miami sun or jumping in the deep end of competition for the first time, Wodapalooza draws in athletes from across the world.

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.