Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. There were a lot of doubters who challenged Mat Fraser heading into stage one of the CrossFit Games this year, chief among them was Dave Castro; Fraser answered the call. And, the Phoenix disaffiliated over the summer, but has now changed course and is working with CrossFit HQ to develop programming for athletes with substance use disorder.
Also, Kelsey Kiel and Colleen Fotsch, both Games veterans, are moving to Lake Placid to tryout for the US women’s bobsled team.
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The Morning Chalk Up, Triib and True Coach are conducting a CrossFit community-wide poll to get your feedback on a broad range of topics facing the community today. Take 5 minutes and tell us your thoughts.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”– Haruki Murakami
“I Have Nothing to Prove”, Fraser Addresses Doubters and Chases History
The four-time reigning and defending “Fittest Man on Earth” Mathew Fraser shouldn’t be answering critics, not when he has strung together a stretch of dominance that hasn’t exposed many holes in his game and no clear-cut challenger in the sport. But that’s what he found himself doing heading into the online stage of the CrossFit Games two weekends ago. Chief among those critics was the man who oversees the test to find the “Fittest”, Dave Castro.
Remind me: In July, Castro commented on Fraser’s chances this year in an Instagram Live post: “He’s slipping. I think he lost his edge. He has all the fame and popularity, being a slave to the IG, the travel and priorities I think aren’t there.”
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The Phoenix Re-Affiliates, Partners with CrossFit to Build Community Center in Detroit
After the Greg Glassman scandal last spring, Scott Strode didn’t waste any time to pull the trigger on disaffiliation. He promptly removed the CrossFit name from his five affiliates that operate under the Phoenix, a non-profit that provides fitness to thousands recovering from substance use disorder.
“It was really heartbreaking for us because so many people in our program have benefited from CrossFit. We have served more than 10,000 people,” said Strode, the founder of the Phoenix. “You often hear people say how CrossFit has changed their lives, but for those in recovery, you often hear them say, ‘CrossFit saved my life.’”
Still, at the time Strode saw no other option but to disaffiliate.
Four months later: Impressed by the changes CrossFit LLC has made in recent months, Strode decided to rethink his relationship with CrossFit.
CrossFit Games Veterans Kelsey Kiel and Colleen Fotsch Move to Lake Placid for US Women’s Bobsled Team
Say what you want about social media, but for Kelsey Kiel and Colleen Fotsch, it became a gateway to an unexpected opportunity. Best known for their achievements in CrossFit, the two women were scouted by the USA Bobsled Team to try their hand at the Olympic sport. They are currently training at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY.
One big thing: Kiel and Fotsch are keeping things in perspective and continuing their CrossFit training during Olympic quarantine. Both will bring their fitness to the bobsled track in the coming weeks.
Athletes, including Kiel and Fotsch, are arriving at the training center in waves and will eventually work out in pods once they complete their mandatory quarantines. While they will be working out with the coaches for the team, both athletes will also retain their current coaches with some modifications to their normal CrossFit style training.
“Constantly varied” is a key principle in the CrossFit methodology and here are a few upper body pressing and pulling exercises you can work in to add some variety. These exercises will not only help you build strong arms and shoulders, but the strength will transfer to your Olympic lifts as well.
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The combination of corn, soy and butter is a classic. This recipe brings all three together along with pan-fried tofu, scallions, mirin and sesame oil to make an ultra-flavorful vegetarian main dish. You can serve it over rice, farro or even arugula dressed in rice vinegar and more sesame oil. Here’s a tip: Add a crispy friend egg to finish it off.
Good Read: “What Do Canadians Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski Do Now?”
On Friday the South China Morning Post published an opinion piece by Patrick Blennerhassett entitled,“What Do Canadians Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski Do Now?” and it’s a good read. In it, Blennerhassett tracks the two athletes’ careers since 2016, and questions how and why the past two seasons have been difficult for them given their successes in the previous years. Here are a few key takeaways:
“From 2016 to 2018, Canadian CrossFitters Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski looked like interchangeable monster slayers. Both found themselves challenging four-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser, who started his reign in 2016. Vellner, 30, came third in 2016 and 2017, and second in 2018. Fikowski, 29, came fourth in 2016 and 2018, and second in 2017,” Blennerhassett wrote.
In 2019: “Vellner’s 19th in the sprint at the 2019 CrossFit Games cost him a chance to challenge Fraser, as he finished 16th. Fikowski’s 28th in the Mary cost him and he ended up 23rd overall. Many pundits feel that CrossFit Games director Dave Castro’s cuts were ill-timed and quite possibly eliminated athletes who should have made it through.”
In 2020: “Fikowski and Vellner were locked and loaded, ready to muscle their way onto the podium and challenge Fraser once again, but the global pandemic threw another spanner into the world of CrossFit. An online competition featuring 30 men and 30 women vying for five spots was what came of a scaled-down version of the Games. Vellner looked a sure-fire bet to make it to Aromas, California, whereas there were doubts Fikowski would do as well as he normally does at in-person competitions.”
“But then a strange thing happened, or for those who know Vellner, a rather commonplace one. Vellner’s 21st in the one-rep max squad proved to be a hole he could not dig himself out of,” Blennerhassett wrote.
“Fikowski finished 22nd in the first two events and was all but finished after that. He managed to put together an impressive showcase of resiliency, clawing his way back up to 15th.”
“Now the two will watch the Games from the comfort of their homes like the rest of us mortals, and the questions surrounding the Canadian duo are already resurfacing within the community: is this another blip, or a sign of things to come?”
Be sure to look at the full article to read Blennerhassett’s conclusions.