“At times I think and at times I am.”- Paul Valery
Ukrainian CrossFit Athlete Turned Soldier on Front Lines Urges Russian Athletes to Speak Up
Three weeks ago, Vladimir Tysaniuk was training hard for the 2022 CrossFit Games Open at CrossFit Banda in Kyiv, Ukraine. Today, he’s a soldier on the front lines fighting Russian forces, fighting for his country, and fighting for his life.
“These two weeks turned my life upside down,” said the 32-year-old. “I had a good life in Kyiv and the job I love. I had to change everything. Hold a gun instead of a bar. Learn emergency medical care instead of gymnastics. Protect checkpoint instead of cardio. Fight for my country.”
Though he wasn’t able to disclose exactly where he is right now, Tysaniuk, a coach of 14 years, said through a translator that he is currently living in an old building, where “some soldiers (have) had to sleep in trenches for four days because their base (was) destroyed.”
Even still, he is finding the time to workout.
“My friends laugh at me that I can survive without food, but not without training,” Tysaniuk said.
But all that has quickly become secondary to being “ready to fight for our lives, our country. Create our own history,” he said.
In the Blink of an Eye
Before Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, Tysaniuk was in the process of building his own CrossFit affiliate in Kyiv, which he intended to open sometime in March.
“One day (just) before the war started I went there to check the construction progress,” he said. “Back then I (wouldn’t have) believed that the war was about to start. I thought that it was all politics, not related to regular people.”
But on February 24, it actually happened.
“I woke up (to) explosions. My girlfriend was in tears. My relatives screamed on the phone that we have to run. I knew that I was not going to leave. I must protect my city,” Tysaniuk said.
What happened next looked like something out of a nightmare.
“Russians throw(ing) bombs on airports, hospitals, government buildings. Some bombs didn’t blow up and lied on the streets. Crowds of people tried to leave the city. Huge line-ups at gas stations. Military jets flying above our heads. Explosions are everywhere,” he said of the scene that unfolded in his city.
Instead of fleeing, he fought back.
“I couldn’t show my weakness. My friends and family counted on me…I wanted to fight back,” he said.
So he stayed. Because someone needed to.
Recently, while at a checkpoint filled with “shocked and frightened people coming from occupied cities,” Tysaniuk opened the door of a car to check on its passengers, and a child asked, “Mommy, is he a Ukrainian soldier?” And when the mother replied that he was, the child smiled and began crying.
“The kid expects us to protect them,” Tysaniuk said.
“It is hard to believe that it is the 21st century.”
Tysaniuk’s Plea to Russian Athletes
Prior to the war, Tysaniuk said he had friends, even family, in Russia.
“But now they are silent. No texts, no support…(but) it’s not politics anymore. We are getting killed here. We are sleeping under explosions. I have a gun and bullets under my pillow,” he said.
This is why he’s asking Russian athletes not to be silent. To speak up.
“Force your army to leave Ukraine. Russian athletes must speak up,” Tysaniuk urged. “It is not fake news. Instead of the CrossFit Open, I spent time in the trenches. All I want now is peace.”
He added: “Next year I will qualify for (Semifinals). If I survive.”
Reminder: Scores for 22.3 are due by 5pm PT today.
Here’s a way too early top ten leaderboard, as of 5pm PT Sunday (The scores for this workout will still need to be validated by affiliate managers and the CrossFit Games judging team. Official results will be available on Wednesday.)
Noah Ohlsen (4:27) | Taija Brown (3:30)* (unverified)
Jake Berman (4:29) | Laura Horvath (4:39)
Fabian Beneito (4:31) | Marisa Flowers (4:40)
Jonne Koski (4:39) | Kristi O’Connell (4:40)
Logan Collins (4:40) | Danielle Brandon (4:40)
Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson (4:41) | Feeroozeh Saghafi (4:49)
Bayden Brown (4:41) | Bethany Shadburne (4:54)
Zack George (4:41) | Brooke Wells (4:56)
Casper Gammelmark (4:42) | Alexis Raptis (5:06)
Dami Martinez (4:43) | Jessica Androsik (5:08)
Make sure you’re on the #morningchalkup leaderboard before tonight’s score submission deadline. This week’s final four winners will receive a $100 gift card to JUNK Brands 🤑 See JUNK shipping policy for international availability. Congratulations to the Week 2 winners of UNBARD cold brew pre-workout (United States only) – please DM or email us ([email protected]) to claim your prize:
Hannah Hardy from CrossFit Westchase (8:35)
Cody Veteto from CrossFit SL Fitness (9:23)
Destiny Cook from Skunkbear CrossFit
Bill Smith from CrossFit Colfax
Spencer Panchik has joined Brute Strength, and breaks down workout 22.3 if anyone is still looking for some 11th hour strategizing.
The 2022 Granite Games are returning to Viking Lakes in Eagan, MN, June 3-5, 2022 for a CrossFit semifinal. The state-of-the-art campus is home to TCO Stadium and is also the Minnesota Vikings headquarters.
In case you missed it, Lauren Kalil capped off another The Bottom Line live show, this time for 22.3 where she discussed the workout leaking early on air with co-host Tommy Marquez. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s a great one.
Seven-time CrossFit Games veteran Brooke Wells, is the latest athlete to join Eight Sleep. 😴
A new study has found that eating protein from a variety of sources, including red meat, can help you keep blood pressure low.
Mat Fraser Discusses Life After Competition, HWPO Launch New Platform
After winning five consecutive CrossFit Games and hanging up his competitive hat, Mat Fraser’s life looks like anything but retirement.
“I think when I announced my retirement I should have prefaced it that I was retiring from competing,” said the 32-year-old. “I’m working more now than I ever had.”
Still more fit than most of us (all of us, really), he’s using his wealth of fitness knowledge to run his training program, Hard Work Pays Off. Those who are following HWPO can expect some serious upgrades as the company is moving to its own stand-alone platform through Fitr Training.
“We’re looking and launching more tracks. The user interface for the athletes, the customers, is incredible. You can go into your one app and there’s a track for everyone. I’m really excited about bringing in more athletes.”
Fraser says HWPO is working to expand so that anyone looking to advance their skills in CrossFit or just overall fitness can do so. Through finding the best specialists in each modality, he believes they are “the best training platform” and is looking forward to becoming even better.
Under HWPO – Fraser and Jake Marconi are training 18-year-old and seventh fittest woman on earth, Mal O’Brien, who’s already off to a powerful start locking in a first and second place finish on Open workouts 22.1 and 22.2.
“I’ve been working with Mal for a couple of months now…I’m obviously taking my experience, my knowledge, my resources, and applying it to her, but we’re different athletes. We have different strengths and weaknesses, we like different training styles, so it’s been a while getting the feelers out there and figuring out what works well and what she responds to.”
Based on the leaderboard thus far, it seems like the coach and athlete chemistry is working. Although the nerves and excitement of competing can’t necessarily be replicated off of the competition floor, Fraser does admit he was a bit nervous to be responsible for making sure her Open videos were good enough for CrossFit, and the world to see.
As HWPO continues its growth in the training program space, Fraser is confident there will be more news to come, especially with his co-pilot Matt O’Keefe back by his side.
“He never really left… It’s come full circle… It’s incredibly rewarding that I finished my competitive career and he went from manager, agent, friend, and he always called himself my caddy at the Games but now we get to work together officially for the long haul.”
While it’s still a bit strange to look at the Open leaderboard and not see Mat Fraser’s name, it’s encouraging for the sport that he’s still in this space gracing the next group of athletes with his fitness knowledge.
“I’m solely focused on helping the younger generation of athletes coming up achieve their dreams.”
Khan Porter Draws in New Fans During 22.3 Announcement
All three CrossFit Open announcements are in the books and 12 total athletes have tested themselves against each other with barely any time to prepare. 22.3 featured two teams going head-to-head, which helped Khan Porter add some more followers on social media.
The details: We tracked the individual athletes’ Instagram followers prior to the 22.3 workout announcement on Thursday, March 10. We started on March 8 and ended on March 12. The biggest takeaway is that the Australian narrowly edged out a two-time champ.
First muscle up? Battling illness? Inspired others? We all know someone who crushed the Open this year but didn't get the recognition they deserved. Well, we've partnered with FITAID to make sure your Unsung Hero gets a little tune. Nominate them below, and the best nominations will feature in an upcoming article.
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