“Hope is but the dream of those who wake.”- Matthew Prior
Serbian Lazar Djukic is Betting on Himself
Lazar Djukic put his life on hold and lived prize money to prize money, with faith in his ability to climb up the CrossFit ladder. So far the gamble has paid off as he is set to compete at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games for the second time.
“I believed in myself. In my first few competitions I took first, second or third. So I thought, if I really really try I can be good at this,” the Serbian said.
Most athletes win competitions, get enough prize money and sponsors, then go full time. But Djukic, who had some savings from coaching in Kuwait, decided to go full time then win prize money and get sponsors. He paused his studies, and still has seven exams to sit for his economics degree.
“Back then, I invested everything just to become an athlete, I was just living on prize money. It was a big motivation, I needed to win to pay the bills. There was no other option,” Djukic, 26, said.
“I think that’s why right now I perform best under the most pressure. I think it paid off.”
“From there I tried to qualify for the Games, and I think it was the best decision of my life.”
Djukic is heading to the Games for the second time, but it is in fact the fourth time he has qualified for the Games.
He qualified in 2018 as National Champion of Serbia but showed remarkable self-awareness. He did not think he was ready and as he was still scraping from one prize money to the next, a trip to the Games did not seem worth it.
“My goal was to show up and compete. And not to show up and just be impressed I’m there,” Djukic said. “I thought I’d be cut in the first or second round, and I didn’t want to spend the money. I just focused on local competitions to try and earn some money in Europe.”
“In 2018, I think I chose well when I chose not to compete,” he said. “I was just playing it smart and betting on the future.”
Djukic then qualified again in 2019 as National Champion and also by coming second in the Dubai CrossFit Championship. However, Covid-19 restrictions meant that the National Champions were cut and only the sanctional winners made it through to the next round.
He once again qualified by coming second in the German Throwdown last year and he finally competed. This year, he made it again by winning the Lowlands Throwdown.
During the four years since his decision to turn down the Games, Djukic has been steadily improving.
“I learned how to see the whole competition, and I learned every workout is one step. The competition is one workout at a time. If you are starting your competition at 10th or 15th, it doesn’t mean you can’t win. I learned what to eat, what to drink, how I should feel, should I stretch, should I not stretch, should I cool down?”
“It helped my mental side to have that many competitions under my belt,” he said.
“I just became much more relaxed going into competitions. I see some people going angry, or they focus too much. I’m just relaxed and easy until it’s 10, 9, 8, 7 and go time. From then on, I black out, I just do the work until it’s done.”
In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil, the host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Morning Chalk Up analyst Brian Friend if he thinks the cuts at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games are necessary.
Games announcement: The demo team for the Games is here and it features Royce Dunne, Kloie Wilson, Mitch Stevenson, James Sprague, Feeroozeh Saghafi and Alison Scudds. Not to shabby.
Jersey update: Add the reigning, defending Fittest on Earth to the list of the athletes who have sold out of their online stock of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games replica jerseys. Justin Medeiros, Tia-Clair Toomey as well as Laura Horvath join Patrick Vellner, Guilherme Malheiros, Kristi O’Connell, Baylee Rayl, Haley Adams, Noah Ohlsen and Danielle Brandon of athletes who have sold out of their online inventory. Mallory O’Brien has stock of women’s medium size jersey’s available online.
Podcast love: Our very own Preslie Hirsch spoke to HWPO’s Jake Marconi about getting what you want. Most definitely worth a listen. 😎
The funniest thing you will see today: Annie gets BKG, bad, really bad. 🤭
Moneyball for CrossFit: Predicting Event Winners
There are only eight days until the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games begin. Now that the athlete field has been selected, there is a buzz amongst Games fans surrounding a few questions:
What will the events be?
What will the events test?
And, of course, who will win?
For the last few years, I’ve been thinking about these questions. I wanted to develop a set of criteria to break down events, and use those criteria to help predict athlete placement at the CrossFit Games. With the help of Brian Friend, James Hobart, J.R. Howell, and Taylor Self, we finally have a system to accomplish this task.
Follow along as we determine predictive factors in CrossFit tests, identify these factors in previous tests, and compare athlete performance in similar tests in order to predict which athletes will perform the best in certain tests at the 2022 CrossFit Games.
What Predicts How an Athlete Will Perform?
If we are building a model to predict athlete performance, we need to clarify the attributes of a workout that create separation. In CrossFit specifically, that differentiation comes down to two things:
NOBULL to Bring Madison to London with Fanzone Experience
Just days away from the kick-off of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, the title sponsor’s UK branch announced a unique opportunity for fans of the sport in London who will not be able to make the trip across the pond this year.
One big thing: The NOBULL Fanzone Experience “will allow the UK community to celebrate the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games in a big way here at home.” The goal “is to celebrate the global community within the sport, and give those in the UK a taste of the live action all the way from Madison.”
Sam Kitching, the General Manager of Europe for NOBULL, explained the thinking behind the Fanzone Experience: “We wanted to bring all the amazing things that happen at the CrossFit Games to London. A few of us have been fortunate to go to Madison which inspired us to do it. We love everything from the vendor village, the on-site workouts and obviously the competition itself, so we thought there was no reason we couldn’t give our local community that experience. I hope it will help get more people involved in the CrossFit Games and CrossFit itself. We want to help internationalize the sport.”
The details: Fans at the Fanzone Experience will have the opportunity to tackle infamous CrossFit Games workouts and shop the NOBULL CrossFit Games collection in the fully-oufitted retail space. There will also be a live stream of the CrossFit Games, a full vendor village, daily workouts, CrossFit Kids classes, more.
Kitching added: “It has a real festival feel to it and I am looking forward to spending time with the amazing community. We have set up some event stations that are centered around previous Games workouts. I am particularly looking forward to taking on the sprint course, which was inspired by the sprint workout in 2019 and seeing if I can beat Tia’s time, which isn’t very likely.”
“This event is particularly important to me because everytime I have come back from the CrossFit Games I have become more inspired about my training and the sport itself,” he added. “So I really want to be able to share that experience with the community. NOBULL was built out of this community and we want to continue to share amazing experiences with them through our events like the Fanzone and the CrossFit Games.”
The NOBULL CrossFit Games London Fanzone Experience will take place Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7 at the Rosslyn Park Rugby Club. Admission is free, but attendees must reserve tickets for entrance and for workouts.
2022 CrossFit Games Preview: Teen Divisions
The 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games Age-Group and Adaptive Division Semifinals scores have been tallied, and 240 athletes spread across 24 divisions are now finalizing their travel arrangements for Madison, WI for next week’s battle for the title of “Fittest” in their respective division.
The online Age Group Semifinal featured six workouts over the course of three days, with the top 10 athletes in each division receiving the much coveted invitation to the Games. This is a 50% cut from last year’s field of 20 athletes competing in-person in each division.
The battle for Fittest Teen on Earth begins next Thursday, August 4 and concludes Saturday, August 6. We have highlighted the top-three finishers of each respective Semifinal below.
How Rich Froning Uses Breath Training to Prepare for the CrossFit Games
In less than two weeks, CrossFit legend Rich Froning will take the competition floor in Madison, WI with his team, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and attempt to make history once again. This time by winning a tenth CrossFit Games championship. He currently holds four individual Games wins and five Affiliate Cup victories.
We got the chance to ask Froning a few questions about training, and this is what we learned:
What is training like in the final few weeks before the Games?
“[With less than two weeks to train], not only is the volume at an all-time high, but so is the intensity, he said.”
“There are plenty of other recovery tools that I use pre and post-workout, but when you’re in the middle of an intense workout, the only hope to recover is through breathing effectively. Keeping your jaw relaxed, unclenched, open airways, etc. So yeah, I have other tools to help recover and perform, but none of them are on the competition floor other than the AIRWAAV.”
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