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Games Travel Too Expensive?

Morning Chalk Up

July 6

Happy Tuesday Morning Chalk Up readers! It may be Monday for some of you after a long holiday weekend, but not to worry, we’re moving full steam ahead as we inch closer to the CrossFit Games đźš‚.

  • After Dave Castro teased Individual Event 1 for the Games, we’re breaking down who might fare well in the swim/paddleboard event.
  • Financial frustrations for some international athletes. Why getting travel approval wasn’t the only pandemic factor to getting here for the Games.
  • And getting to know Baylee Rayl as she makes her first individual appearance at the CrossFit Games.
  • Plus, have you seen our new CHALKFIT shirts? Available for pre-order until 7/9.

Crush a PR or have a story you want us to tackle? Hit us up at [email protected].

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“You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.” - Arthur Ashe

  “Long Swim, Longer Paddle”: Who’s Likely to Win IE1? 


“Long Swim, Longer Paddle”: Who’s Likely to Win IE1?

As promised, Dave Castro delivered information about Individual Event 1 on July 4.

“The first individual event at the 2021 CrossFit Games will take place on July 28. That Wednesday morning, the individual athletes will do the following: swim, distance, long; and, paddle, distance, even longer,” said Dave Castro on the CrossFit Games Instagram feed Sunday (July 4).

Remind Me: Neither swimming nor paddle boarding is new for athletes at the CrossFit Games. Swimming first showed up in 2011 and has been included in every iteration of the Games since.

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A Jump Rope Designed to Teach You Dubs

A Jump Rope Designed to Teach You Dubs

There are three certainties in life:

  • Death.
  • Taxes.
  • Double unders in the CrossFit Open.

Get ahead of next year’s Open and start practicing double unders — like you promised yourself you would — with Velites’ new Earth 2.0 rope and training system.

  • Looking for your first dubs? Earth Rope 2.0 includes the Velites training app with a 14-day coach-led course to take you from zero experience to your first set of double unders.
  • Need versatility? With three interchangeable cables and 12 different weighted handle combinations, you can switch from maximum speed to maximum fatigue in seconds.
  • Still working from home? The Velites training app also includes more than 1000 jump rope-based workouts so you always have options at your fingertips.

Sign up now and be the first to get notified when it launches.


  • Reebok is releasing a new version of the Nano X1 built to help you take life outside the box. The new Nano X1 Adventures are due to go on sale late July but you can get your hands on a pair early, as well as an exclusive Reebok Adventure bundle by entering the Morning Chalk Up giveaway.
  • This week on the Clydesdale, Fitness & Friends podcast, Arielle Loewen discusses her retirement and why she needed to move on.
    • After her fifth time at Regionals without qualifying for the Games, “I had such a miserable time in Salt Lake City, being all in my head, the pressure, and I didn’t feel good, I didn’t compete well and said don’t let me do this again.”
    • She goes on to talk about her new goal, “go to the noon class, work off the baby weight and look like a fit mom.”
    • Then she was approached by the owner of the gym with the possibility of making it to the Games, “I went along with it and on Wednesdays, we do an extra hour when we work on weaknesses.”
  • “You may want to buckle up…”: John Wooley, the mind behind Make Wods Great Again and the Make Pods Great Again podcast was blocked on Instagram by Dave Castro after three years. Here was his response:
    • From Wooley’s IG post: “Welp! It took me 3 years but I’m finally BLOCKED BY CASTRO! I don’t know what I did tbh so I feel bad I didn’t earn it but you can guarantee I will. You may want to buckle up…”
  • American Weightlifting Record: Mattie Rogers set three new American records at the Nike 2021 National Championships. Rogers snatched 112kg/246.4 pounds in the 81kg category (actual bodyweight 78kg) and clean and jerked 315 pounds/143kg for a 562 pounds/255kg total.
  • Tony Kurz Special Forces Games Jersey: Available on July 9, this limited edition Tony Kurz Special Forces Games t-shirt will be on sale and all proceeds benefit the Green Beret Foundation. The Green Beret Foundation gives support to wounded and injured Green Berets and families of Green Berets killed in combat and training.  It pays for uncovered medical costs, scholarships for children of Green Berets, and support to Green Berets transitioning to civilian life.
  COVID Causing Cost Surge for International Games Athletes Headed to Madison 

COVID Causing Cost Surge for International Games Athletes Headed to Madison

Australian Athlete Ellie Turner will make her first Games appearance this year in Madison, WI. Qualifying via a third place finish at the Torian Pro, she was stoked to be heading to the CrossFit Games.

  • “Getting to compete at the Games is an absolute dream come true and I’ve dedicated my whole life to it,” said Turner.

But her dream comes with a price tag of nearly $20,000.

  • $800 to compete (Open, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Games).
  • $10,000 for flights, travel insurance and hotel stay during a layover.
  • $6,200 for food and accommodations weeks leading up to and during the Games.
    • International athletes typically arrive a few weeks early to acclimate to the weather and time zone.
  • $3,000 to quarantine for two weeks when returning to Australia.

Grand Total: $20,000

(Editor’s note: this is an estimate and varies for each athlete.)

Why it matters: Travel was one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, and airline companies are still dealing with the repercussions after furloughing thousands of employees. As a means to offset limited flights as the airline industry tries to come back, prices have skyrocketed, primarily for those traveling to and from overseas.

  • “Because of COVID there aren’t many flights, and the flights that are going out aren’t full, so they have to bump up the prices to still make it worthwhile for the aircraft to fly,” Turner said.
  • In a normal year, Turner said flights could range from $2,500 to $3,000.
  • “You’ve just experienced this massive high of qualifying to the Games, but then you realize all the logistics and you come crashing down fairly quickly. But it’s also what I’ve been training for and my absolute dream to go to the Games so I’d do anything and pay anything to go. It would just be nice if I didn’t have to pay my entire year’s salary to get there,” said Turner.

Australian veteran Games athlete, Kara Saunders, has a similar travel bill. Saunders said in an Instagram post, “who’s paying for the additional family members to come over though? My trip already sits at over 20k for me alone. Imagine paying 40k+ to travel with one support member, on 5k Semifinal prize money. BRB (be right back), just gonna go sell my house to attend the Games.”

GEDfit, Turner’s CrossFit gym, wanted to help support her expenses for the Games. They hosted an in-house competition and raised more than $15,000.

The bottom line: While it’s costing many International CrossFit Athletes a hefty bill to compete, most are willing to do whatever it takes for a chance to throw down on the big stage at the CrossFit Games.

  CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Baylee Rayl 

CrossFit Games Rookie Series: Meet Baylee Rayl

Baylee Rayl has never been on a competition floor as an individual. Not at Regionals or Sanctionals, and not even at a local throwdown.

Although she did qualify as an individual this year through the Atlas Games Semifinal — it was all online. All of this means that her first solo competition will be on the biggest stage in the sport, the CrossFit Games.

  • “I have always just competed on a team,” shrugged Rayl, a two-time CrossFit Games team athlete.

Rayl’s 2021 journey: After many years of team competitions, 25 year-old Rayl decided to give it a go as an individual this season. This shift also included starting to follow the Mayhem Athlete programming, and periodically making the eight-hour drive from her hometown of Springfield, MO to CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN to train alongside some of the best athletes in the world.

  • Working with Mayhem Coach Jake Lockert this past season helped Rayl develop, not just physically, but also build her confidence to a level where she believed she could compete with the best in the sport, she explained. Heading into the Semifinals weekend, she felt “as confident as I ever have,” Rayl said.
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Bending Your Arms Too Early in Bar Muscle Ups

Bending your elbows too early stops you from getting your center of balance over the bar, and you end up in a kinda deformed pull-up situation. See what we mean with this side-by-side comparison and get a simple drill to fix the issue.




Something Other than Caffeine or Sugar

Caffeine and sugar highs don't last a full workout. When you're training, you need something that won't spike your blood sugar and cause a crash. UCAN SuperStarch steadily releases energy so you can keep your foot on the gas and end your workout on a high. Try today for 20% off with code "CHALKUP".



The Programming for the First CrossFit Games

The first-ever CrossFit Games took place in Aromas, California, 14 years ago. Check out the three workouts (yes, three) programmed and see how the Games have evolved since.



BOGO Shoes From Reebok

No, BOGO shoes are not the new rival to the Nano. We mean -- Buy One Get One (BOGO) on shoes today at Reebok. Buy a new pair of shoes for yourself and get another pair for a friend for free with code "BOGOFREE".



Everything There is to Know About Wall Balls

And we mean everything. This guide from Brent Fikowski and the Professor Project takes you through everything from picking up the wall ball in the fastest way, where you should stand in comparison to the target, to how to break up your sets.


Chalk Up Highlights is our section dedicated to celebrating our community’s wins in the gym. Follow @ChalkUpHighlights and submit your highlight to [email protected] to be featured.

2/4: Valentine’s Day Massacre (Tucson, AZ)
2/4: The 2023 Winter Classic (Danbury, CT)
2/4: GOAT Youth/Teen Fitness Competition: Individual, Age Groups 10-17 (Olyphant, PA)
2/4 - 2/5: Modena Challenge: Intermediate and Rx (Modena, Italy)
2/10 - 2/12: Fittest if the Coast Championship (Charleston, SC)
2/11: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash at THRIVE CrossFit 103 (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash (co-ed pairs) (Staten Island, NY)
2/12: The 2023 RCF Winter War (Londonderry, NH)
2/18: Moultrie South Georgia Classic (Norman Park, GA)
3/1 - 3/31: Barbells For Bullies: Sit Ups For Pups (Online Event, United States)
3/18 - 3/19: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/25 - 3/26: Costa Dorada Fitness Challenge (Tamarit, Tarragona, Spain)
3/25: No Weak Links (Marcy, NY)
3/30 - 4/8: Nine27 Athletics Spring Showdown (Online, Virtual)

See all upcoming events

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