CrossFit Games

Luke Parker Ready ‘To Grab Bull By the Horns’ in First Individual Games Appearance

June 20, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Luke Parker
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CrossFit Mayhem’s Luke Parker qualified for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games for the first time as an individual after finishing eighth at the North America East Semifinal. He now has his spot in the sport’s biggest competition, and he is ready to go out and grab the bull by the horns. 

Remind me: Back in 2021, Parker took on a new challenge. The former college baseball player had put two solid years into CrossFit and decided he was ready to take it to the next level. He began training at CrossFit Mayhem and attempted to qualify for his first CrossFit Games.

  • Parker finished 21st in his first Semifinal appearance, missing qualification, but that did not deter him. He continued training hard while joining CrossFit Mayhem Indepdence in the Team division for the 2022 season. 
  • Parker returned to individual competition in 2023, and he put the sport on notice. He qualified for Semifinals once again, and he went out and punched his ticket to Madison. He also did so after completing a 300-pound snatch in one of the most exciting moments of the three weekends. 

Parker: “It’s the best feeling ever. I definitely feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be and right where I thought I was going to be. … I’m ready to truly see what my body is capable of.”

  • “I’m 29 years old now, but a lot of my friends who are younger than me have been doing this for over 10 years.”
  • “I’m going into my fifth year of ever doing CrossFit, ex-baseball player. So yeah, my body feels young and new. I’m just excited to start grabbing the bull by the horns.”

A varying path: As someone that was within reach of CrossFit Games qualification in 2021, Parker could have attempted to go individual once again in 2022. This did not happen, however, as Rich Froning recommended that he spend a year in the Team division. 

  • “I didn’t want to go team, [but] it was the greatest experience of my life,” Parker said. “I got to train alongside Mayhem Freedom, and Rich, for his last year competing for his tenth gold medal.” 
  • “[Teamed up] with Angelo DiCicco, ended up coming in fifth. The training leading up to it was pretty amazing, and I learned so much. I wanted to go team again, because I had so much fun. But I felt like I was ready [for the individual division].”

There were multiple benefits of going team for a season. Parker felt that he got much fitter, to the point that he can focus on performing better in every event, and he experienced the “gladiator moment” that rookies have described after their first big events in the coliseum. 

Parker also worked on reining in his “full-send personality” that he has put on display during workouts at CrossFit Mayhem. “That’s just kind of my mentality,” Parker said while laughing.

  • “I’ll never forget my very first workout with Rich. My biggest set of unbroken double-unders with a heavy rope was like 20 or 30 because I’d only used it three times in my life.” 
  • “And we did a workout with four rounds of 100. I came out and went 100 unbroken in the first round. Then I did sets of 10. That was definitely earlier in my (CrossFit) career.”
  • “There are still workouts where Rich looks at me and goes, ‘Hey, pace this. Don’t come out hot.’ It’s not just CrossFit I’m talking about. It’s kind of like the overarching theme of my personality.”

A bigger purpose: Like Froning before him, Parker does CrossFit for a reason other than getting in great shape and testing himself against his peers. He certainly wants to win, but his ultimate goal is to glorify God and inspire others. He will continue to pursue this even if he does not contend for a podium spot. 

  • “Why do I CrossFit? I want to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves, and make the most of what God’s given them as far as their physical capabilities.”
  • “Whether it’s diet, nutrition, functional fitness. Being able to stay functional for their kids and their family in the future and really tap into what their body’s capable of doing.”
  • “I want to also inspire people to get to know their Creator and have a relationship with God and just know that God loves them.”
  • “One of my favorite verses going to the Semifinals this season was Proverbs 21:31 – ‘The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory rests with the Lord.’ So, in this scenario – I’m the horse.”
  • “I get in the box, I do one-to-one intervals, I’m listening to Rich, I do what my coach is telling me, I train hard, I do all the things. I’m that horse that has been made ready for the battle. My job is just to give all of my effort, but the victory rests with the Lord.” 

Hopes for Madison: As a bigger athlete (listed at 5’11”, 205 pounds), there is an expectation that Parker will favor the events that put him in front of a heavy barbell. There is some truth to that, but he also wants to highlight the fact that he is well-rounded considering his background in other sports and his training environment. 

Parker is well aware that he needs to be prepared for everything at the CrossFit Games, whether it’s barbells under the lights, a softball throw, a peg board, or something that mixes log carries with runs. Regardless of what the challenge is, he’s just excited about the opportunity to take it on. 

  • “If they threw in a triathlon, not even probably my biggest strength, but I think I can make a huge bold statement,” Parker said. “I love to lift heavy weights. So obviously, anything that’s crazy heavy, I’m going to enjoy.”
  • “As far as truly being excited and looking forward to something and showing off my athleticism, it’d be something that’s very CrossFit Games-esque. [Something] outside, whether it’s a zigzag sprint, you gotta be an athlete. Maybe an obstacle course. Maybe even if it’s Murph! I mean, something crazy like that. The Capitol Run again.”

“I hope [Boz] tests at least all of us once—just tests everyone’s soul. You know what I mean? Like, there’s good fitness tests, and there’s one that’s like, ‘Alright, who’s gritty? Who’s gritty and fit? Like, who’s willing to dig a little extra than everyone else?’”

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