Jay Crouch’s Quiet Comeback and the 2023 Season that Almost Wasn’t
Australian Jay Crouch has been in the game for a long time–the six CrossFit Games appearances under his belt are evidence enough for that.
But the 24-year-old from Reebok CrossFit Frankston has been in the space for 11 years, since he was 13-years-old. His career has stretched out over two decades and, according to Crouch, it’s all been leading up to the Games this year, which he says was the most proud moment of his career.
Always a factor in the men’s division but never having broken through into the top ten, Crouch came out of the 2022 season frustrated. Especially after winning the Torian Pro Semifinal event to qualify for his third individual Games appearance, then coming to Madison only to place 28th overall, Crouch felt uninspired looking at the season ahead.
- “I was pretty close to giving it up. Just making a decision based on emotion,” Crouch said. It was the hardest challenge he’s faced this far in his career. “But I quickly shook it off and bounced back better. This impacted me in a big way for sure. Realizing it’s a crazy roller coaster of emotions and you can turn it around at any point in time.”
Reinvigorated for the 2023 season, Crouch came out with a bang, finishing 13th worldwide in the Open, second in Oceania Quarterfinals, and took the win again at the Oceania, Torian Pro Semifinal. He was on a roll.
Going into the Games, Crouch says his preparation was perfect. He came to the United States three weeks before competition kicked off to acclimate to the sweltering heat (as opposed to the middle of winter temperatures back home), and said that the training environment at the PRVN camp was second to none. Plus, he had a new mindset heading into the Games: no expectations.
- “This year, I knew I had put in a lot of hard work to do well. What that looked like on the leaderboard, I almost didn’t really care,” Crouch said. “I trusted that the good result would follow without focusing on it.”
Whether he was looking at the leaderboard or not, Crouch finished the season with a personal best finish of eighth place overall. He says that his execution for each of the events was generally very good, having two years of individual experience already. His best finish was the first event of the competition, “Ride,” right up his wheelhouse with a background in mountain biking.
However, more than his personal execution and fitness, Crouch points to his support team as the main reason for his success at the Games.
- Crouch: “My support system during the Games is all the awesome coaches at PRVN and my girlfriend Maddie Sturt with me (during the) behind the scenes,” Crouch said. “They played a huge part in keeping me dialed and having fun in the process.”
Go deeper: Check out this recent interview with Crouch on “Fitness with Friends” on the Talking Elite Fitness YouTube channel.