Former Team Competitor Rebecka Vitesson Heads to Madison as Individual Rookie
In 2022, after placing 12th at the German Throwdown, and missing out on a qualifying spot that would’ve send her to Madison, Rebecka Vitesson was approaching a turning point. She had been managing CrossFit Butcher’s Lab, in Copenhagen, Denmark, full time, while training and working to attain her goal of competing as an individual at the CrossFit Games. Sick, exhausted and perpetually over-stressed, she realized that if she had any real shot, she would have to shift her priorities, and train full time. In 2023, she resigned from her position at Butcher’s Lab and became a full-time, professional athlete, her sights set on qualifying for the 2023 Games.
By taking 11th place at the European Semifinal in June, she did just that.
Remind me: The name Rebecka Vitesson may sound familiar to some, as she was a member of the Butcher’s Lab team in 2018, placing 21st at the Games. She and her team qualified again in 2020, but as there was no team division moving past qualifiers that year, they did not compete.
It was at this point that Vitesson decided she wanted to move away from team and pursue competing as an individual, and with that, she needed specific coaching and guidance. She found that with coach Andre Houdet and the No Shortcuts crew.
- “It was in 2020, after the first wave of COVID, I wanted a coach that was close to me, with experience. I learned how to compete and be a professional athlete leading up to competition. I feel so much more secure working with Andre, I have confidence in him, because he has such experience. He knows what is required–all those small things that one doesn’t think about being an individual competitor. He thinks about all this and knows it,” said Vitesson.
This transition to individual was a major adjustment for Vitesson, as she relied heavily on her teammates for support through the years. Sessions were completed together, and she was never alone on the competition floor. Additionally, she had to adapt to the increase of time spent training each day, which was paramount to her growth as an athlete.
- “I had to learn how to adjust my schedule to training full time. My coach helped me with this. It took about two months to adjust, because I just wasn’t used to it. It had to become my job.”
- “I plan my training on my own, which can get very lonely. It’s a very lonely experience at times. I’m often by myself. With a team, you always have someone around. Andre told me that although it’s very different, I would need to learn how to love it,” said Vitesson.
And she has indeed.
After a particularly discouraging test at the Europe Semifinals, she was ready to give up. Feeling isolated, alone and absolutely gutted, she almost told Houdet that she was done. She shared the same sentiment with her boyfriend.
- “I was so discouraged after the 3rd test, I was ready to give up. I thought, after everything, all the sacrifice, this isn’t worth it. I wanted to give up. But my boyfriend had said to me, ‘it doesn’t matter what happens here… look how far you’ve come- look where you are.’ I thought of this going into the 4th event.”
- “I had this special moment, my boyfriend had encouraged me to look up in the crowd before the event, and so I did this, and there were so many people there from Denmark, and they were all yelling and cheering. I soaked it all in, and was proud that I was there. I realized I wasn’t alone,” said Vitesson.
Over the past three years, Vitesson has seen major growth in herself, not only in the physical realm, but in her mental space as well. Having suffered two ACL injuries, one in each knee, years prior, she has come to know some dark places.
Through this, she has learned to have patience with her body. In the midst of setbacks, she expressed that while the unknown is challenging, it’s remarkable what one can accomplish with faith and trust in oneself.
- “I recently have begun working with a mental coach, and it has made a huge difference – I’ve spent more time on me. I’ve matured so much because of this.”
And she has learned to train smarter, prioritizing components of fitness found outside of the gym.
- “I became a full time athlete…. Which is all about being more patient with recovery, rest and more time spent on nutrition. I’ve been able to rest more, and feel fresh. Before this, I was sick all the time, I couldn’t complete my training days, I had to rush through everything. I was so stressed out all the time. Now, my training has more quality, I prioritize rest,” said Vitesson.
Preparing for the Games: Over the next few months, Vitesson is preparing for her trip to Madison alongside Houdet and fellow No Shortcuts qualifiers Jelle Hoste and Manon Angonese. If the 2022 programming is any indicator of what’s to come, she’s looking forward to high-skill tests, gymnastics and a possible obstacle course.
Vitesson: “I’ll be training harder, more chaotic movements and workouts, different things, high skill work. I’ll be working on sprints and swimming. I’m excited for the Games since it has become my goal – it has all seemed like a fun playground – full of diverse workouts, I can’t wait.”