How Teen Marissa Nichols’ Games Experience Provides Confidence in 2023

July 17, 2023 by
Image Credit: Ava Kitzi
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This summer at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, the 40 best CrossFit teenagers in the world will take the stage to fight for their own Fittest On Earth titles. Out of the ten in the 14-15 girls’ division, only one is a returning Games qualifier, putting her far ahead of her rookie competitors: Marissa Nichols. 

This year, where her goal is to have a gold medal around her neck after the last day of competition, has been a long time coming for Nichols. She started CrossFit at eight-years-old, doing the CrossFit Kids classes when she could while balancing basketball and softball practice. When the pandemic hit, though, practices and games were canceled and Nichols turned her attention full-time to getting fitter. Since then, the Games have always been on her mind. 

Last year, as one of the youngest in her field, she ended her rookie season in ninth place overall. While she says that it was an amazing experience and she had a blast competing, her inexperience definitely showed. 

  • “Last year I [was]…kind of a nobody, and all the highlights and the lights were on the big dogs,” Nichols said. “So it was definitely intimidating at first, it was like (being) a deer in headlights.”

However, now as a seasoned competitor, Nichols knows that she has her feet under her and says that the process of getting ready for the Games has been like second nature this year. After bouncing around a few training programs to find what fit her, she’s settled as a Mayhem athlete and says that her confidence has skyrocketed going into the summer. 

  • “I’m really grateful that I’m confident in my abilities but not so confident that I don’t get upset when something doesn’t go my way or I have a bad event,” Nichols said.
  • “Being able to move past that, just being proud of myself and knowing that in the end I’m not ‘Marissa a CrossFit Games athlete’ but more importantly ‘Marissa a child of God and the people I interact with.’”

Spending so much time in the gym nowadays preparing for the upcoming competition, Nichols admits that it can be hard sometimes. She says that it can feel like the gap between Semifinals and the Games can stretch out and feel like endless days of “hammering your body” every day to fine tune. But at the end of it, she knows it’ll be worth it. 

  • “On the competition floor and celebrating, it’s so hype and I love it so much. That’s definitely what keeps me going,” Nichols said in regards to her iconic finish line screams.

Despite the highs of competition, Nichols says she’s had to have a focused effort on keeping herself happy over the last season. In an era where lots of her peers and idols are open about burnout, she knows that making time to just be a kid is super important to the longevity of her career, as she wants to compete in the sport long after her teen division stint is up. 

  • “Just making sure that I’m having fun competing and enjoying it (is important) which I think is something a lot of people brush off,” Nichols said. “They’re just so focused on competing and winning, but finding that balance and competing and having fun in the gym and with your community is something that’s really important.” 

Nichols is prepared as ever and eager to get out on the Games competition floor in less than a month. But whether she walks away with a first place finish or not, she knows that her career will extend far beyond the 2023 CrossFit Games. 

“I qualified for my first Games last year which was just super crazy and a dream come true. Now I can be in this for a while and I know that I’m capable of more.”

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