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Meet Laura Namvar, Iran’s National Champion

Morning Chalk Up

January 10

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. A few days ago CrossFit HQ released the official list of national champion invitations for the 2020 CrossFit Games. Over the next few weeks, we are bringing you a series of profiles on some of those men and women. And, get all the details on how to watch the CrossFit Mayhem Classic this weekend. Today:

  • Meet Laura Namvar, Iran’s female national champ.
  • It’s about to go down in Cookeville, Tennessee.
  • A Sanctionals update from around the world.
  • You can wager on the Mayhem winners…as long as you live outside the U.S.
  • The Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge qualifier rolls into week 2.

Did we miss something? Let us know at [email protected]



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“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

— George Bernard Shaw


National Champion Profile: Laura Namvar, Iran

  National Champion Profile: Laura Namvar, Iran  

Last year, while Laura Namvar was watching the 2019 CrossFit Games on a big screen at her box in the United Kingdom, she was surprised to see the Iranian flag during the opening ceremony. “I didn’t know that Iran was even included in the kind of list of countries that would be allowed to compete at the Games,” she says. “So, I emailed HQ literally that day, and I said, ‘What do I need to qualify as a national champion?’”

Per CrossFit’s competition rulebook, two conditions had to be met:

  • First, Namvar had to have Iranian citizenship, which she inherited automatically from her Iranian father, even though she was born in the UK to a British mother. Conveniently, Namvar already had her Iranian passport in a lockbox at home.
  • The second condition, however, she had no control over: that Iran have at least one CrossFit affiliate in good standing.

Due to United States’ economic sanctions, it’s impossible to open a box in Iran, but CrossFit HQ has made an exception for the country (and hopes to eventually include other nations without an affiliate, like Bolivia and Kazakhstan). Almost immediately, HQ responded and gave Namvar the greenlight. After roughly two years of CrossFit, she’d have seven weeks to prepare for the CrossFit Open to compete to become Iran’s national champion.

Six months after she started the sport, Namvar started training on her own using online programming, so she knew she’d need a personal coach for the first time in her CrossFit career. The head coach at her partner’s gym, Luke Andrew of CrossFit Tewkesbury, agreed to take her on and in the process inherited an athlete with strengths and weaknesses.

Mentally, she had a solid foundation.

  • Years earlier, she’d been a skydiver with over 500 jumps, and learning to live with fear has helped her navigate pre-workout jitters.
  • Namvar: “It’s the same as getting to the airplane door. You can’t go back down. You just have to go.”

Physically, the situation was more complicated.

  • Before CrossFit, she’d competed as an amateur boxer, which was great for her endurance but had developed her chest and conditioned her to be hunched over, both of which were disastrous for her overhead mobility.
  • Higher skilled gymnastics were also a weak point, which became evident during the 20.3 Diane redo, when she struggled to meet the handstand push-up standard, and during 20.5’s choose-your-own-adventure, when she failed to get a ring muscle-up.

Dragged down by poor finishes in those workouts, Namvar finished 4,738th in the world and 92nd among the national champions, and she recognizes that some may feel she doesn’t belong at the Games.

  • Namvar: “At first, I was very shy to speak about being the national champion because I guess I felt like I didn’t really deserve it,” she says. “But I’m a competitor, and I would never ever go into a competition without wanting to put my best foot forward or doing everything I could do, regardless of people’s opinions.”

In Madison this year, her goal is to survive the first round of cuts as the Iranian national champion.

Ironically, though, Iran did little to shape Namvar as an athlete. “It wasn’t really encouraged for girls to do much sport,” she says about the six years she lived in Tehran, from ages two to eight. “But my father used to cut my hair so I could go outside and play in the street with the boys.” As an adult, though, Namvar says she’s excited to compete under the Iranian flag. “I think it would be amazing to represent that country as a strong female, and hopefully that will get a positive reaction from other Iranian women.”


How To Watch: Mayhem Classic

  How To Watch: Mayhem Classic  

The 2020 portion of the Sanctional calendar begins this weekend in a familiar place for CrossFit enthusiasts. CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN hosts the Mayhem Classic January 10-12. The Morning Chalk Up will be onsite providing in-depth coverage and interviewing a who’s who of CrossFit athletes and personalities. Follow our coverage on the Mayhem Classic Sanctional page and on Instagram and YouTube.  

Complete leaderboards powered by Throwdowns.


Coverage of the event will be streamed for free on Mayhem’s YouTube. Subscribe to get notifications of events and behind the scenes content.

Live Stream Schedule (All Times Central)

Friday, January 10, 2020

  • Off-site/No stream: Event 1 and 2 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats
  • 6:00 pm: Good Dudes Event 1

Saturday, January 11, 2020

  • 9:00 am – 11:30 am: Event 3 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats
  • 11:35 am: Good Dudes Event 2
  • 12:08 pm – 3:16 pm: Event 4 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats
  • 3:30 pm: Good Dudes Event 3
  • 3:54 pm – 5:42 pm: Event 5 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats

Sunday, January 12, 2020

  • 9:00 am – 12:46 pm: Event 6 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats
  • 1:20 pm – 4:45 pm: Event 7 Men’s and Women’s Competition Heats
  • 4:50 pm: Good Dudes Final

Social Media

The Morning Chalk Up crew will be on the ground delivering stories and athlete interviews throughout the competition. Follow us on YouTube and Instagram. You can also follow CrossFit Mayhem on Instagram for updated.

All-Star Broadcast Team: Rich Froning, with the help of Rory McKernan, has gathered an all star team to produce the best live stream broadcast possible.

  • The “Voice of CrossFit” Sean Woodland will provide play-by-play for the event and he will be joined in the booth by the Morning Chalk Up’s very own Tommy Marquez who will provide color commentary and analysis.
  • Behind the camera, the production team features Joe Novello, who has been involved in the last nine CrossFit Games as the Coordinating producer. He is joined by Charlie Dube, who produced the CrossFit Games Update Shows for eight years and currently produces the Rogue Iron Game broadcasts. Mike Roth will direct as he has done for many of the Games, he will oversee the camera crew to give viewers the best angles and views.
  • At the end of each day, Rory, Tommy and Sean will recap the action with discussion and interviews with the top athletes in a show called “Mayhem After Hours” presented by Theragun. Exclusive highlights, video packages and behind the scenes footage will be produced by the team of Mike Koslap and Ian Wittenbur, who have each been instrumental in producing popular Games documentaries like “Fittest on Earth” and “Fittest on Earth: Decade of Fitness”.

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Sanctional News and Updates

  Sanctional News and Updates  

International Online Qualifier 2 

Asia CrossFit Championships

  • The Asia CrossFit Championships has released their first online qualifier workout.
  • Registration is open until February 2, 2020.
  • Individual athletes and those competing on teams will do the same events in the online qualifiers.
  • Deadline to submit all results and videos is February 2.
  • For the second year in a row the HAM Plan, Spencer Hendel and Austin Malleolo, will do all the programming for the qualifiers and the Sanctional events. 

Confirmations and News

  • Dani Speegle joins Ben Smith, Brooke Wells, Noah Ohlsen, Alessandra Pichelli and recently crowned 2019 CrossFit Open National Champion Patrick Vellner as confirmed elite athletes for the individual competition at Wodapalooza.
  • Sean Sweeney is packing up his trailer and heading to Del Mar, California, confirming his invitation to the West Coast CrossFit Classic.
  • Speaking of the West Coast CrossFit Classic, Lauren Fisher is confirmed to compete as an elite individual, her first individual competition since the 2018 CrossFit games.
  • The five-time “Fittest in Poland” and two-time CrossFit Games athlete, Gabriela Migala is confirmed for Strength in Depth.
  • Tickets for the Australian CrossFit Championship on March 5-8 in Gold Coast , Queensland are now on sale.
  • The Brazilian National Champions, Lari Cunha and Guilherme Malheiros are confirmed to represent their country in front of the home crowd at the Brazil CrossFit Championships.
  • Tim Paulson will give the Reykjavik CrossFit Championship another shot after withdrawing last year due to injury, he is confirmed to compete at the Sanctional on March 13-15.
  • Early registration is still available for the ELFIT CrossFit Championships on April 8-11 in Egypt.
  • Dan Bailey returns to compete in the Legends Division at the 2020 Rogue Invitational.
  • The CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown created a special leaderboard for members of the military.
  • Early registration is open for the French Throwdown. 
  • Roy Gamboa (MisFit P10 Performance), Brandon Luckett (Odd Squad), and Brooke Haas (ROMWOD Meatsquad) have all declined their invitations to compete as individuals at the 2020 CrossFit Games to compete with their respected teams. Here’s what that means
  • The Down Under CrossFit Championships announced that tickets will go on sale January 15.



Games Training With a Baby

Check out a day in the life of [email protected] CrossFit mama, Kara Saunders, who is preparing for her eighth trip to the CrossFit Games. Watch until the end for a special guest cameo.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Better Meat

Did you make a resolution to eat clean in 2020? From now until January 12th, new ButcherBox members will get 2 pounds of Alaskan sockeye salmon, a 4-pound pork butt and a pack of bacon in their first box for free. It’s the perfect way to kick-start your new year.

  Morning Chalk Up  


So Your Significant Other Doesn’t Do CrossFit

Whether you’re married, dating or somewhere in between, what happens when that someone special doesn’t do CrossFit or even worse, doesn’t really like that you do. Co-hosts Jessica Danger and Brittany Marsh tackle this topic and share their experiences on this episode of A Fresh Cup of Fitness, powered by O2 Recovery.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Better Sleep

Sleep deprivation will most definitely hinder your physical and mental performance. Get better sleep with Prospera’s PM recovery combo. It couples a magnesium complex with a fast-acting, mind-soothing THC-free CBD oil to help unwind and restore your body through deep sleep. Shop now and get 20% off with the code “CHALK20”.

  Morning Chalk Up  


The Ultimate List of Air Fryer Recipes

Love fried food but don’t love all the oil that comes with fried chicken, tater tots (best thing ever) or anything else you can fry? Allow us to introduce you to the trendiest food contraption hitting countertops: the air fryer. And to go with it, here are 35 recipes to cook up with a whole lot less grease.



  • Congratulations to Jamie Greene and Elliot Simmonds on their wedding.
  • Alexis Kowalsky hits a 220 pound squat clean.
  • Chase Knight hits a 250 pound power snatch.
  • Josh Mattes hits a series of big cleans at 396, 400 and 405 pounds.
  • Melissa Koepke split jerks 215 pounds for a PR.
  • Tyra Kinloch-Bailey PRs her snatch at 185 and again at 190 pounds.


Roll Some Dice at the Mayhem Classic

Pinnacle Sports is back with another Sanctional online betting opportunity, this time for the CrossFit Mayhem Classic. Unfortunately, U.S. residents are unable to participate. 

The two betting opportunities are whether Tia-Clair Toomey will win the women’s division and who will win the men’s division:

For Toomey to Win:

  • Yes — 1.2
  • No — 4.88

Overall Men’s Winner:

  • Jeffrey Adler — 5.0
  • Alexandre Caron — 5.0
  • Chandler Smith — 5.0
  • Ben Smith — 7.0
  • Tyler Christophel — 7.0
  • Samuel Cournoyer — 7.0
  • Scott Tetlow — 7.0
  • Tola Morakinyo — 9.0
  • Will Moorad — 9.0
  • Saxon Panchik — 9.0
  Morning Chalk Up  

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Week 2 Qualifier Now Live

The Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge released the final two workouts for individual qualifiers Wednesday night. Athletes wanting to qualify have until Monday. January 13 at 5:00 PM PT to complete this set of workouts. If the deadline is missed, their scores will be invalid. There are a minimum of 20 spots for the elite division. More details on how to qualify in our definitive guide to qualifying for 2019-2020 Sanctionals. 

  • 20.3 (Tommy Shelby) presented by Rogue
    For Time:
    30 Wall Balls (30/20)
    25 Deadlifts (225/155)
    20 Bar Facing Burpees
    15 Ring Muscle Ups
    20 Bar Facing Burpees 
    25 Deadlifts (225/155)
    30 Wall Balls (30/20)
    Time Cap: 20 Minutes
  • 20.4 (The Deathly Hollows) presented by Victory Grips
    For Time:
    1 Round
    150 Double unders
    30 Thrusters (95/65)
    30 C2B Pullups

    2 Rounds
    75 Double unders
    15 Thrusters (115/75)
    15 C2B Pullups

    3 Rounds
    50 Double unders
    10 Thrusters (135/95)
    10 C2B Pullups
    Time Cap: 30 Minutes

The Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge will take place on April 17-19 at the historic D.C. Armory in Washington D.C. The Morning Chalk Up will provide exclusive coverage and access as the Official Media Partner for the Sanctional.



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1/11: Unbroken Ocala (Ocala, FL)
1/11: Strongfit Fundamentals Course (San Diego, CA)
1/11 – 1/12: CrossFit Ft Vancouver Championship (Vancouver, WA)
1/11: 3rd Annual In-Law Competition (Keene, NH)
1/11: Older, Wiser, Stronger, Faster – Individual (Ann Arbor, MI)
1/11 – 1/12: KO in the OK (Tulsa, OK)
1/17: A Grand Day at Frantic (Cannington, Australia)
1/18: The Force Wars 2020 (Pembroke Pines, FL)
1/18: 3rd annual Battle For The Axe (Brainerd, MN)
1/18: Row For Reveille (Poulsbo, WA)
1/18: NCK Throwdown 2020 (Concordia, KS)
1/18: Lone Star Shootout (Dallas, TX)
1/18: CrossFit Krypton V.2 (Chesapeake, VA)
1/25: The Blizzard Brawl (Waite Park, MN)
1/25: Cerberus Powerlifting (Blue Springs, MO)
1/25: Reindeer Gainz III (Donna, TX)
1/25: 2020 Winter Swolestice (Fayetteville, AR)
1/25: Lost River Rumble II (Bowling Green, KY)
1/25: Cold Steel Classic (Oswego, IL)
1/25: HYROX Chicago (Chicago, IL)
1/25: Battle of the Ages (Norwood, MA)
1/25: New Year. New You. Fit Duo Games. (Austin, TX)
2/1: Krypton’s Compete for a Cure (Chesapeake, VA)
2/1: Warrior Affiliate League Fantastic 4 (Chino Hills, CA)
2/1: Wodi Gras 2020 (New Orleans, LA)
2/1: Great Lakes Games 2020 (Plymouth, MI)
2/1: Crossfitting 4 Cures (Bowling Green, KY)
2/8: Thoroughbred Throwdown (Ocala, Florida)
2/8: A League of Their Own Challenge 7 (San Antonio, TX)
2/8: Black Ops 4 (Wheaton, IL)
2/8 – 2/9: The Ice Bowl 2020 (Green Bay, WI)
2/8: Love Is Love Invictus Boston (Boston, MA)
2/8: Cupids Clash (Cape Coral, FL)
2/8 – 2/9: CrossTrain.PH Invitational 2020 (Manila, Philippines)
2/8: Cupid’s Massacre (Laguna Hills, CA)
2/9: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)

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