Apart but Together: Separated by an Ocean, Justin Medeiros and Ellie Turner Qualify for the 2023 CrossFit Games
Over the course of three weekends, fans watched seven Semifinal events, held on different continents, many of which took place concurrently.
Two of those overlapping events were the Torian Pro in Brisbane, Australia and the North America West Semifinals in Pasadena, California. Because of the time difference, those competing in Oceania did so hours before the athletes in California.
However, they were bonded by the fact that they were completing the same tests, with the same goal: to qualify for the CrossFit Games in Madison. Between the two events, there were 13 female spots and 12 male spots up for grabs.
Two of those were earned by couple Justin Medeiros and Ellie Turner.
In early May, Turner packed her bags and left her and Justin’s home in the United States to travel to Australia. She needed a few weeks to acclimate to the drastic time change and to recover from such extensive travel before Semifinals.
Weeks later, Turner was focused, rested, and determined as the Torian Pro approached. She would be competing in front of her family, in her home country, which was something very significant to Turner and dear to her heart. Strength coach Jesse Bifano would join Turner in Australia to lend support and guidance. But that enthusiasm and motivation to compete and secure a ticket to the Games was met with mixed emotion.
Back in California, her team, including Medeiros and coach Adam Neiffer, were together at the North American West Semifinals, along with CrossFit Fort Vancouver competitors and friends Trista Smith and Adam McAdams.
While Turner thrived on the energy of the fans, her family and the festival-like spectacle that is the Torian pro, she longed for the support crew that she had been with, day in and day out for so long.
- “It was so tough being away, all our crew and coaches were back in (Pasadena), and I felt really isolated. It was challenging knowing everyone was back (there) together,” said Turner.
- “I haven’t competed by myself… with Rogue and the Games last year, I’ve had Justin with me,” reflected Turner. “There’s a shared suffering and there were different challenging elements that I hadn’t factored in ahead of time.”
Nevertheless, she persisted.
The two maintained close contact throughout the weekend, with Medeiros waking up to watch Turner’s first event of each day from afar, and with Neiffer coaching her through all tests, regardless of the time difference. Knowing Medeiros and the rest of her team were watching inspired and comforted Turner while she competed.
- “It was really hard being apart from my team, but it meant a lot knowing that they were always awake and watching the first workout of the day, and I would think about that,” said Turner.
And in turn, Medeiros found motivation and strength in Turner as well.
- “It was so cool waking up, checking my phone to see how she did the day before…and staying connected even when we were far apart… and starting off the day like that,” said Medeiros.
- Turner: “Justin would be awake for the first event, so he could always watch that with Adam. I could call them right afterwards to relay any information that I thought he needed to know.”
As the weekend came to a close, both athletes walked away with major accolades. After consistent finishes over seven tests, Turner completed Test 4 with a 10 pound personal record on her snatch and a 1st place finish overall in the event.
Although Medeiros’s 5th place finish was disappointing for the athlete, he set a new world record on Test 6 and gleaned some very valuable personal insight. Medeiros knows where he’s at and how he’s feeling. He was disappointed that the leaderboard didn’t show that but he loves where it has left him while he trains for Madison. And for his competitors, it could be a dangerously motivating place for him to be.
- “I love being the underdog–it’s the best place to be right now,” said Medeiros. “I’m fitter than I ever have been and I’m so ready to go.”
- “This weekend was just as much a mental test as it was physically for me,” Medeiros posted on Instagram after his weekend in Pasadena. “But there is no doubt in my mind I am better for it. I know I am fitter than I was last year and I know that the family and team I have around me is second to none. So pumped for the road ahead.”
Preparing for the 2023 Games: The two have left their home in Boise, Idaho to head north, where they will spend time between Vancouver, Washington and Squamish, British Colombia with coaches Neiffer and Bifano, preparing for August.
Training side by side, as they did to prepare for the 2022 Games, they’re hungry, driven and competitive with one another. They will try to predict what is coming their way and do their best to replicate Bozman’s potential tests.
- “I feel like in years past, we could make some judgments on what Dave’s programming would be, but last year was a total guessing game, we didn’t know what would come up. We now have some more data from Boz, so we have a little better idea what to expect and how to train for that,” said Medeiros.
Anticipating the workouts and simulating them, training weaknesses, pushing strength, speed and accuracy, competing against one another with odd objects, swimming, running and everything in between, the couple have a packed two months ahead of them. They look forward to suffering through it all together and with their team. And knowing that they will be competing side by side at the 2023 Games makes all the difference.
- Turner: “I’m grateful to be living the life I am, with so many good humans in my corner to keep me moving forward even when I don’t feel like I have the strength to myself.”