Morning Chalk Up Community

Chalk It Up To Greatness: Vitor Caetano

June 8, 2023 by

SIETE, OCHO, NUEVE, DIEZ! The jubilant crowd faces  24 year old Vitor Caetano and chants his final 10 reps of overhead squats of Event 6 at the 2023 Copa Sur, South American Semifinal. Vitor keeps a steady gaze lowering and raising at the command of the crowd. After his final rep, he jumps over the barbell, leaps to the finish line, and raises his arms in triumph. 

Nine years earlier in Guarujá, Brazil, Vitor Caetano and his father are lounging on the couch clicking through TV channels when they stop on ESPN. The iconic legend, Rich Froning, stoically stares through the television and locks eyes with Vitor.  Froning is  completing the last ten reps of double Grace, 60 clean and jerks for time. Announcer Sean Woodland counts down Froning’s reps by listing the years he has been crowned champion. “2011…, 2012…, 2013…, 2014 RICH FRONING IS THE  FITTEST MAN IN HISTORY!! Rich Froning secures his 4th title as fittest man on earth and motivates Caetano toward the same goal. 

Life before CrossFit was dominated by junk food and video games. Vitor Caetano began CrossFit at age 14 to lose weight gained through a sedentary lifestyle. Watching Froning compete lit a fire under him to change his habits and pursue competitive fitness. 

Vitor gets after his goal with resilience overcoming each obstacle with cheerful tenacity. He qualified for Semifinals in 2021, 2022, and 2023, improving his standing each year. Caetano’s story sends the message that even if you come from a disadvantaged background, resourceful determination leads to greatness.

MCU: What events in your life led you to the desire to compete in the CrossFit Games? 

  • I have always been an extremely competitive person, even as a child. And by nature, I've always been a very dedicated person to what I decided to do. When I started Crossfit, aged 15, I remember that I had my first contact with the competition watching the 2014 Games Final, a workout that Froning was consecrated champion for the last time individually. In that first contact, I decided that one day I would be there. It didn't matter how or when but, I would be there. Since then, 9  years ago, I've been on this quest!

Crossfit could think outside the United States and consider the lack of equipment accessibility. Semifinals was the first time I got close to equipment like a Go Ruck Sack and Rogue Echo Bike.

Vitor Caetano
Vitor Caetano placed 15th at Copa Sur 2023 South America Semifinal

MCU: Are there any difficulties for athletes  training in the location where you live?

  • Here everything is very difficult. Few athletes have sponsorship. We have a huge lack of equipment. In my gym, until recently, we didn't have ergs, such as rower, bike or ski. This equipment is very expensive so, not everyone can get them. We also have a lack of structure in the cities. For example, in my city there is only one pool that I can swim in and it has no heater so, in the winter, I have to stop doing my swimming training. It is for these reasons that many athletes are leaving for the United States to pursue their careers.

MCU: Do you have faith in the fairness of CrossFit judging standards? 

MCU: How can CrossFit take an equitable approach to be inclusive to people of various nationalities? 

  • I think this is slowly happening along with the globalization of some training programs like Mayhem. It's giving athletes around the world a chance to train at the same level as the best in the world. Crossfit could think outside the United States and consider the lack of equipment accessibility. Some athletes who compete in South America Semifinals live in the USA, so they have access to equipment that no one else who lives in Brazil has:  like the Go Ruck Sack, Rogue Echo Bike, and Assault Air Runner For me, this equipment was a surprise.  Semifinals was the first time got close to one of these. So I believe they could program something that would be more inclusive for the whole world.
Vii is for Victory!

MCU: Only 2 men and 2 women qualify for the Games from South America. Do you think this is a fair representation? Should more spots be allocated? 

  • For many years our Semifinal was a cut above the others, so yes, it was fair. But that is changing, today in the Quarterfinals we already had at least 6 or 7 athletes in the Top 100 in the world. So our level is starting to match the other Semifinals, and little by little we will prove that we deserve more places.

MCU: What would you say to encourage young athletes? 

  • The message I have to leave is this: If the dream makes sense to you, ignore everything others say and believe in yourself. Have a goal, work hard for it, and NEVER forget to have fun along the way. And when you feel down at some point (and you will), remember why you started.

Follow Vitor's quest for the CrossFit Games on Instagram @vii_caetano

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