“You'll run into problems if your expectations don't align with the amount of work you're willing to invest.”- Mat Fraser
The Pretty Little Lifters: How Tiffany Ragozzino is Changing the PE Game
If you stumble upon Tiffany Ragozzino’s Instagram page – entitled The Pretty Little Lifters – you will see a brightly colored feed full of inspiration and positivity, an intentional step away from the negative diet culture that has infiltrated social media in recent years. A middle school Physical Education (PE) teacher, Ragozzino wakes up every day with a goal – to teach teens and women the things she wished she had learned in PE and Health classes growing up.
Pretty Little Lifters, or PLL as she refers to it, had a simple beginning. Tiffany found CrossFit after she moved to Los Angeles from Orange County, and started attending BRICK Los Angeles, a gym in West Hollywood. She found a friend there who was petite, like Tiffany, and wanted to be strong.
And just like that, the PLL Instagram page was born.
At first, she would just post her workouts.But Ragozzino’s experience as a teacher took hold, and she started to post healthy habits and tips to teach others how to live a better life.Bridging the gap between being a strong, healthy woman and feeling feminine was essential for Ragozzino. It was 2014, and CrossFit was growing in popularity on a mass scale.
“I’m here to show you that you can do both – you don’t have to choose. You can still feel feminine and wear cute pink workout outfits,” she said, adding, “I think sometimes, especially around that time, (CrossFit) was a little grittier. Some people like metal music and gritty garage workouts, but that’s not everyone’s vibe. That’s scary to some people.”
Bringing Strength to the Next Generation
The concept of being strong and taking up spacebecame the goal for Tiffany in 2018 when she became a full-time PE teacher at an all-girls school. She went into that interview clear that she wanted to make significant changes in the world of PE—she wanted to teach girls how to build strength through weightlifting.
But equipment costs money—a lot of it.
“So basically, it’s been a five-year process,” she said. “The first year, I think we only had like $200. So I went to the community, and I just started reaching out.”
“I knew the manager at BRICK, and I asked them if they had any equipment they wanted to get rid of and to please send it my way.”
“Lift Society also helped – they saw what I was doing since I’m constantly posting about everyone on my PLL social media. The owner, who was an ambassador with Lululemon, reached out to me to do a joint fundraiser.”
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Was there More Room for Error at Semifinals this Season?
When CrossFit LLC first announced the changes to the 2023 Semifinal season in October 2022, one of the questions that arose was: How would twice as many tickets to the CrossFit Games and twice as many athletes in North America and Europe affect the overall competition?
Eight months later with Semifinals behind us, the answer to the question proved to be that under the new format, in the larger fields, there was more room for error than in seasons gone by. In other words, you could afford to have a weakness exposed, even have a bad event or two, and still qualify for the Games.
Some notable numbers: Alex Gazan placed 43rd on the max snatch event at the North America West Semifinal and still managed to take the top spot at the end of the weekend, the lowest placing on a single event for a champion in Semifinals history.
Similarly, Emily Rolfe had a 30th and 41st place finish and snagged the sixth qualification spot in North America West, Sydney Wells had a 58th and a 34th place finish and qualified in seventh out of North America East, and, on the men’s side, German’s Moritz Fiebig qualified third out of Europe with a 36th place finish.
In comparison: Last season, when looking at the four North American Semifinals on the women’s side, the lowest placing by any winner was Haley Adams, who won the Syndicate Crown Semifinal. She was 23rd on the first event, but was able to climb back due to five other top three finishes. Meanwhile, the lowest placing on a single event of any qualifier, male or female, last season was Colten Mertens (27th).
Average placing comparison: Another great way to highlight the point is by looking at the average placing of qualifiers in any given region.
In 2022, the average event placing among the qualifiers in the four North American Semifinals on the women’s side was sixth, while on the men’s side the average placing amongst qualifiers was seventh. These numbers were the exact same in Europe: seventh for the men, sixth for the women.
This year, on the other hand, in order to qualify to the Games as a woman, you only needed an average finish of 15th or better in North America West, 17th or better in North America East, and 15th or better in Europe.
On the men’s side, to qualify to the Games this season, you needed an average finish of 12th or better in North America West, 13th or better in North America East, or 15th or better in Europe.
One big thing: At the Semifinals with smaller fields this season—Oceania, South America, Africa and Africa—there was much less room for error.
In Oceania, for example, you needed an average finish of sixth or higher as a woman to snag one of the three qualification spots, while in Africa, Asia and South America, you needed an average finish of fifth or higher to snag a Games invite.
As a man in Oceania and Africa, the magic number was seventh, while in Asia the number was sixth, and in South America, third.
Meanwhile, the lowest finish on any single event from any qualifier, male or female, in the latter four regions this season was Shahad Budebs’ 21st place finish in Asia.
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