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American Weightlifter Overcomes Car Accident on Road to World Championships

Morning Chalk Up

January 4   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Juliana Riotta overcomes near fatal car accident to World Weightlifting Championships
  • Spaniard Elena Carratala talks overcoming injuries and making the mind tough
  • CrossFit athlete Ashley Jerue makes movie debut in “Strong Enough”
  • The 2023 New Year Nutrition Guide because new year new you
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“To be is to do.” - Immanuel Kant

  Near Fatal Car Crash to World Weightlifting Championship for American Juliana Riotto  

Near Fatal Car Crash to World Weightlifting Championship for American Juliana Riotto

A little less than a month before Juliana Riotto, 24, placed eighth at the International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) World Weightlifting Championship, she was in a car accident that left her in and out of consciousness, and her car almost unrecognizable as it was found wrapped around a tree.

Riotto was in upstate New York at the time and was on her way to training when she tried to dodge something in the road and couldn’t regain control of the car.

  • “I’ve heard some of my friends say I rolled, but what makes the most sense is that I came across and then my passenger side slid into a tree so hard my car wrapped around the tree.”
  • “I remember waking up in my car. I don’t remember speaking, but I remember waking up for a couple seconds and seeing glass everywhere, and my rear view mirror in my lap and super confused.”

Riotto said she had been working tirelessly leading up to the 2022 IWF World Championship held in Bogota, Colombia in early December. But her accident left her ability to compete in question.

Some of Riotto’s most recent accolades include earning a bronze medal at the 2019 World Cup in China and a silver at the British International Open. She also ended up placing sixth out of 18 women in her weight class at the 2021 IWF World Championships after being chosen as one of two alternates to the U.S. team.

She was scouted at 16-years-old during 15.1 of the 2015 CrossFit Open where she lifted 210lbs (96kg) during 15.1a, which put her in first place in the teen division for that workout. USA Weightlifting’s CEO Phil Andrews heard about it and reached out to her gym at the time and has since found a love and passion for the sport.

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In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil sat down with Make WODs Great Again creator and affiliate owner, John Wooley, and Senior Editor, Joe Genetin-Pilawa to discuss the changes in leadership, if this is normal for big companies, and what the future could hold under CEO Don Faul.

New digs: Bethany Shadburne training at Training Think Tank and getting ready for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games gets us even more pumped for this season. 😍

Local loveCrossFit Wigan was voted as one of the best gyms in Wigan on Google, and snagged some coverage in the Wigan Today for their efforts.

More local love: Lydia Fish, who recently graduated from Chippewa Falls High School, profiled in the Leader-Telegram on her CrossFit journey.

And more local loveWater Bear CrossFit in Frisco, TX getting some love after opening late last year.

One more local loveCrossFit Time Warp in Menomonee Falls, WI also getting some love with a write-up in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

  Spanish CrossFit Champion Elena Carratala Uses Injuries to Forge Resilient Mindset  


Spanish CrossFit Champion Elena Carratala Uses Injuries to Forge Resilient Mindset

Elena Carratala became the national champion of Spain for the second year running. She has been beset by injuries in recent seasons. But her resilient approach is to view injuries as an opportunity.

The injuries forced her to avoid heavy lifting and focus on other movements.

“We have tried to strengthen other parts of my CrossFit,” Carratala said. “Two years ago I was a stronger athlete, but now I am a more complete athlete, that has been the key to taking the next step.”

It paid off. Carratala made her Games debut in 2022.

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  From CrossFit to Acting: Ashley Jerue’s Journey to Movie Role in  

From CrossFit to Acting: Ashley Jerue’s Journey to Movie Role in "Strong Enough"

When Ashley Jerue first saw the DM on Instagram, she thought it was a scam.

Two Kaleidoscope Pictures filmmakers were asking if she might be interested in playing the lead role in a film about a CrossFit athlete they were producing.

Jerue had zero acting experience and she “ignored the message for a couple days,” she said.

But curiosity got the best of her, and before she knew it, the 26-year-old CrossFit athlete who almost qualified to Semifinals last season, was putting together audition tapes and getting flown across the country for chemistry testing with the other actors, and then eventually sent to film the movie Strong Enough at Rock Canyon CrossFit in Provo, Utah.

Remind me: Strong Enough was produced by filmmakers John Foss and Russ Kendall and, as of the end of December, the movie has been available on VOD on all streaming platforms.

When casting for their movie, they knew they needed a high-level CrossFit athlete to play the lead character, as part of the role included the actor attempting to break real world records (records that Reebok challenged CrossFit Games athletes to in 2017).

And when Foss and Kendall weren’t satisfied with any of the 1,700 submissions their original casting call generated, they began looking at the top 500 female athletes from the 2020 CrossFit Open leaderboard to find the right woman for the job.

“We looked at every one,” Foss said.

Until they found Jerue.

The experience: Once she figured out she wasn’t being scammed, Jerue’s attitude was, “let’s go for it,” she said. “I have always said I’ll try anything once.”

To help prepare her for her first acting experience, Jerue spent a good deal of time with Foss watching movies that “fit the mood and theme” of what they were going for, she explained. She was also given an online course created by actor Natalie Portman about acting, and that was it. She was thrown into the fire.

Jerue, who placed 151st in North America in Quarterfinals last season, said the experience playing Sam in Strong Enough was “surreal,” and that putting herself through the actual grueling tests of fitness during the filming was “the most natural part of the whole thing.”

What helped Jerue with the more foreign acting aspect of the job, she explained, was that the directors let her character Sam be a little like her.

“And they actually tossed a few lines in there, like the fact that she had been doing gymnastics and that she had only been doing CrossFit for a few years. Those are also things that are true to me, but weren’t written into the (script) originally,” she explained.

It also helped that the movie was filmed at an actual gym, where the extras were actual CrossFit athletes, Jerue said.

“It felt like that community (feel) when we were doing the workouts,” she said. “It felt like I was doing an online competition, like doing the Open, at my gym.”

What’s next?

Though not her “end all, be all,” Jerue would love to qualify to Semifinals this season, and has been receiving coaching and programming from four-time CrossFit Games athlete Emma McQuaid. That being said, she also said she is keeping her expectations low.

As for acting, Jerue isn’t sure whether or not it will play a role in her future, but she’s incredibly appreciative of the experience, an experience that never would have come her way had it not been for her involvement in CrossFit.

She added: “How many people can say that they have done something like that?”

  2023 New Year Nutrition Guide  

2023 New Year Nutrition Guide

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The RP Strength Transformation Challenge

What if we told you that this year, you can win up to $12,000 in cash and prizes just for reaching your 2023 fitness goal? If you're looking for some extra motivation, make sure you sign up for the RP 12-Week Transformation Challenge. But hurry, entry submissions close tonight!



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Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, Kate Vibert.
  • 💍 Congratulations to Luke Parker and Jennifer Frudaker, and Lindsey Locke and Davis Lehman on their engagements.
  • 🎉 CrossFit Type 44 in Bend, OR ushered in the new year with a team marathon row and a hopper of Hero WODs.
  • Tiffany Craven from Aspire Athletic Performance in Westford, MA put up a PR front squat double at 271 pounds/123kg.
  • Congratulations to Brian Clapp, CrossFit Games Judge and CF-L2 from Winterville, GA on the 405 pound/183.5kg front squat PR.
  • Congratulations Kaiden Hogan on the 275 pound/124.5kg split jerk PR.

CrossFit Panther City in Fort Worth, TX is hosting a memorial WOD in honor of member Roger Shingledecker who passed away one year ago.

  • “Roger”
    4 Rounds For Time
    9 Power Cleans
    30 Air Squats
    72 Double-unders
    1 Rope Climb
    7 Handstand Push-ups
    22 Calorie Row
3/1 - 3/31: Sit Ups For Pups (Everywhere, Anywhere Online)
3/2: The LKW Games (Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina)
3/9: The Valkyrie Fitness Competition (Tampa, FL)
3/16: Upper Hunter Strongest Novice (Muswellbrook, Australia)
3/16: Oceanside CrossFit 1st Annual Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/16: Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/16: Shamwod & Shenanigains (oceanside, ca)
3/23 - 3/24: Beach Brawl (Spring) (Pensacola Beach, FL)
3/23: Masters Distinguished Games (Fort Wright, KY)
3/23: CFL Teen Take Over (Lorton, VA)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Ohio (Lancaster, Ohio)
4/6 - 4/7: SeaDog Summer Showdown (Jupiter, Florida)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Minnesota (Austin, Minnesota)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Richmond, Kentucky)
4/6: Best Babes Decatur (Decatur, Alabama)
4/6: Best Babes 608 (Janesville, Wisconsin)
4/6: Best Babes South Carolina (Beufort, South Carolina)
4/6: Best Babes Houston (Houston, Texas)
4/6: Best Babes Wyoming (Cheyene, Wyoming)
4/6: War Off I-4 (Deland, FL)
4/6 - 4/7: No Pain No Game (Legnano, Italy)
4/6 - 4/7: Shack Team Edition (Rome, Italy)
4/6: Best Babes South Carolina (Beaufort, SC)
4/6: Best Babes Decatur (Decatur, AL)
4/6 - 4/7: Landifornian Battle (Seignosse, France)
4/6: Two Peas in a Pod: Mixed Gender Partner Comp (Burlington, MA)
4/6: Best Babes Tampa (Tampa, Florida)
4/13: Queens of Oly Rockledge (Rockledge, FL)
4/13: Queens of Oly East Tennessee (Bulls Gap, TN)
4/13: Fittest on Main (Boaz, AL)
4/19 - 4/21: Crash Crescendo (Spartanburg, SC)
4/20: Barbells For Bullies: Community Workout Savannah (Savnnah, Georgia, US)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Plattsburgh (Plattsburgh, NY)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Masiphumelele (Kommetjie, Cape Town, South Africa)
4/20: Festivus Games (Goderich, Canada)
4/20: Festivus Games (Clermont, FL)
4/20: Festivus Games @ The Gym – CrossFit Kilo (Cedar Falls, IA)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CBM Sirens (Caledonia, MS)
4/20: Festivus Games @ Coyote Valley (San Jose, CA)
4/20 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia)
4/20: The Fittest 4 (Sunshine Coast, Australia)
4/20: Embrace the Challenge (Mentor, Ohio)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Pagosa (Pagosa Springs, CO)
4/20: First EVER Adaptive Festivus Games Competition (Waterford, United States)
4/20: Festivus Games (WAUKESHA, WI)
4/20 - 4/21: BGR Contest Spring Edition (Bergerac, France)
4/20 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia, Canada)

See all upcoming events

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