CrossFit Games

Alex Gazan Enters Sophomore Season with a New Confidence

March 27, 2023 by
Image Credit: Enrique V. Media
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21-year-old Alex Gazan burst onto the elite competition scene at last year’s Granite Games Semifinal, where she grabbed the final qualifying spot in arguably the most stacked field, securing her first-ever ticket to the CrossFit Games. 

And while she placed 24th in Madison, she and the team at Underdogs Athletics agree that Gazan’s potential is yet to be fully understood. 

When Gazan first started at Underdogs, coach Justin Cotler says the team didn’t quite understand just how good she could be yet. Gazan had some previous experience, being just a few spots away from qualifying for the Games in 2019 as a teenager, which immediately stuck out to Cotler. He says she was naturally strong and good at things that often take athletes years to develop such as strict deficit handstand push-ups and legless rope climbs. 

  • Cotler: “I think last year when I started to see her getting better and better at such a quick rate, I got her believing that she could be a Games athlete. I think it’s really been amazing to see her progress and I think we’re seeing it again.”

Between Cotler, the other athletes at Underdogs, and Gazan’s mentor and one of, if not the top American female Games athlete Kari Pearce, she has a solid team behind her. 

While Pearce is retired now and doesn’t make it into the gym every day, she says that working with Gazan to support her however possible has been a mainstay of their relationship. Whether it’s doing partner workouts together, going on hikes, or just chatting about life, she says that her goal is to always be there for Gazan and help however she can. 

  • “Before the Games last year, I was like, ‘okay let’s sit down and talk. There are a few things I want to tell you especially about being a rookie that nobody else will tell you,’” Pearce said. “Just things about the Games because I wish I had someone who was there that told me certain things about the Games.”

Despite her natural talent, extreme potential, and the team behind her, Gazan has struggled in the past with believing in her ability. Cotler says that up until last year, she was still thinking of herself as someone who “might” make Semifinals, but was showing up day in and day out as a Games athlete during training. 

  • “I still think she battles with (confidence), I still think that she has so much further to go in her career, I still think her trajectory is incredibly high,” Cotler said. “She is untapped and has so much potential left, so we work on a lot of stuff in between her ears.”

Gazan herself says that believing in herself has been the biggest lesson that she’s learned in her career. Plus, she says that most of how she gains that confidence is by showing up every day at the gym and learning what she’s capable of. 

  • “Something I’m still working on, but has definitely gotten a lot better is trusting my fitness,” Gazan said. “Just making sure my mind fitness matches my physical fitness. I feel like that was the big improvement this year.” 

Gazan, Cotler, and Pearce all have high expectations for where her career will lead in the future. While she’s still learning and growing as an athlete, the next few years have lots of potential, starting in just one month as she takes on the North America West Semifinal. 

  • “She’s going to be one of the top athletes in the sport definitely, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Pearce said. “She’s definitely somebody you want to see succeed.”

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