Good morning and welcome the Morning Chalk Up. The coronavirus has dominated the headlines and we have an update on how the pandemic is affecting the CrossFit Games Sanctionals season. And, the CrossFit Atlas Games is the next up this weekend; who is poised to take the podium and the coveted Games invitations? Today:
The coronavirus forces postponements in Italy and Germany.
Preview: The CrossFit Atlas Games.
Lauren Neal is a founding member of CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and won the affiliate cup with the team in 2015, she still lives in Cookeville, TN and experienced a nightmare a week ago during the tornadoes, learn more below.
We are cruising toward the weekend, hit us up with PRs, big lifts and story tips at [email protected].
“And I said to my body, softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ // It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”– Nayyirah Waheed
Sanctional Season Continues in the “Great White North” with the CrossFit Atlas Games
The eyes and attention of CrossFit Games fans will focus on Montreal, Quebec this weekend as the “City of Saints” hosts the CrossFit Atlas Games at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex, March 13-15. The first of two Sanctionals that will be held in Canada this season, it promises to be an exciting competition that will ultimately send two deserved individuals and one team to the 2020 CrossFit games.
What’s on the line: The competition features 13 divisions including the elite men, women and team. The top finishers in those three divisions at the end of the three-day event without a 2020 Games invitation will be awarded that honor. A prize purse worth over $36,000 USD will be on the line for the top elite individuals and teams.
Additionally, the individual and team who earns the CrossFit games invitation will receive $726 USD. Event winners also receive cash.
Who to watch: Athletes from North America make up the majority of the field in both the individual and team divisions. The field is full of athletes with Games and Regional experience.
The women’s division: The women’s division consists of 32 athletes, four of those women have their 2020 Games invitation secured. Twenty five of the athletes have Regional experience either as an individual or as a member of a team with 11 having competed at the Games. The top women in Canada will be well represented as seven of the top ten from the Open will be competing.
Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault will be making her sixth-straight Games appearance after repeating as the national champion in Canada through the Open where she finished eighth overall. Last year at the Games she placed 16th. This will be her second Sanctional appearance of the season after competing on a Team “Nation” at the Filthy 150.
Carolyne Prevost has been the runner-up to Reason-Thibault as the “Fittest” in Canada the last two years after claiming that title in 2018. She earned her second-straight Games invitation after finishing 26th in the Open. In her first Games appearance last year she finished an impressive 12th. Like Reason-Thibault she too makes her second Sanctional appearance, competing with the Athlete Program at the Norwegian CrossFit Championship.
Emily Rolfe punched her ticket to Madison in dramatic fashion three weeks ago at Wodapalooza when she placed 10th in a stacked field. The Canadian returns to the Games for the second-straight year after placing 18th in her rookie appearance. This will be her third Sanctional of the season, she also competed at the Dubai CrossFit Championship where she placed sixth.
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German, Italian Postponements Increase Games Season Uncertainty
Both the CrossFit Italian Showdown and German CrossFit Championship announced Wednesday their events would be postponed. The German Sanctional, originally set for March 28-29 will be postponed to a later date, while the Italian Showdown scheduled for April 24-26 will move their event online and plan to hold their in-person competition at an undetermined future date.
These two announcements came just hours before President Donal Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, except for the UK. Additionally, the NBA suspended its season and the NCAA announced that March Madness would go on but without fans.
One big thing: With three events now postponing, the back half of the season is about to get a little cluttered. There is at least one event every weekend between the Rogue Invitational (May 15-17) and the July 3-5th doubleheader of the Asia CrossFit Championship and the Mayan CrossFit Classic and we don’t have new dates for Italy and Germany yet. The May 22nd weekend is also double-booked between the Down Under CrossFit Championship and the Madrid CrossFit Championship.
A lot of this is out of organizers’ control. In the cases of Italy and Germany, they had limited to no say in whether to move forward. The local German health authority ordered the event canceled and the Italian government has put their entire country on lockdown until at least April 3; a date that has been described as tenuous.
CrossFit HQ’s Response: CrossFit HQ issued their first public statement concerning the summer CrossFit Games currently scheduled for July 29 – August 2, but made not mention of individually operated Sanctionals.
“CrossFit will continue to monitor circumstances globally in the coming months and coordinate with Madison, our host community, to communicate information regarding our event.”
“At this time, with the CrossFit Games more than four months away, event planning procedures include patient observation of the coronavirus (COVID-19). If circumstances closer to the event require action, our teams will coordinate with local authorities and share relevant event information as appropriate.”
Status Update: Upcoming Events Through April. We will update when we have more information.
March 13-15: CrossFit Atlas Games — Planned as scheduled.
March 20-22: West Coast Classic — Planned as scheduled.
March 28-29: CrossFit German Throwdown — Postponed, Date TBD
April 3-5: Reykjavik CrossFit Championship — Announcing plans today.
April 8-11: ELFIT CrossFit Championship — Planned as scheduled.
April 17-19: Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Championship — Planned as scheduled.
April 24-26: CrossFit Italian Showdown — Postponed, Date TBD
Tornado Rips Lauren Neal, Family From Their Home
Last week we reported on the EF-4 tornado that tore through parts of Tennessee, leveling buildings, and killing at least two dozen people. With members of the affected communities now working to pick up the pieces, stories on all parts of the spectrum are emerging from the rubble, including some directly affected members of the CrossFit community.
Lauren Neal was in her Charlton Square home in Cookeville, Tennessee when she got the notification on her phone, warning her about the tornado. Neal, a member of CrossFit Mayhem’s CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup-winning team in 2015, immediately rushed to get her teenage daughter.
“My daughter was in her room and she has hearing problems and wasn’t wearing her hearing aide,” Neal told local reporters, “She sat up and next thing you know I was looking at her face and the whole front of the house was gone, and a door came and hit me, and I was holding on the door while getting hit with everything.”
In an instant, a scene from a horror movie played out in front of her. The tornado ripping her house to shreds, Neal’s daughter was carried away by the storm, as Neal was pelted and battered by the destroyed remnants of her home of 14 years.
Neal eventually landed on top of what was previously her roof. She ended up atop the rubble of her home with her dog Jack in her lap.
Miraculously, Neal’s daughter was thrown by the storm into her next-door neighbor’s pool, covered by the debris from her home, and she survived with only minor injuries.
Neal and her neighbors, who barricaded themselves in their laundry room, also survived the ordeal with only minor bumps and bruises, but unfortunately her dog Jack later passed away.
Just a day later Neal returned to where her home once stood to start salvaging keepsakes and pieces of what’s left. “They have found things over 100 miles away. I am so grateful to those people who pick it up and post it on FB (Facebook) so we can get it back,” Neal revealed in a recent Instagram post.
A story of survival: Despite the destruction, Neal and her family’s story is ultimately one of survival, with more stories of how others made it through popping up by the day. As they now start to rebuild, it’s clear by the outpouring of support that they’re not alone.
Neal: “The community is amazing because I’ve never had to deal with something like this. There’s no words other than ‘thank you’ but that’s not enough.”
How you can help: Putnam County has started a relief fund, and CrossFit Mayhem has started a Mayhem for Middle Tennessee charity event to help raise money for those affected. You can find the appropriate links below.
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A Recap of the Australian and Brazil CrossFit Championships and Preview of the Atlas Games
A few days ago was Tommy Marquez’s birthday and he and Sean Woodland celebrated by recapping the two Sanctioned events that took place over the weekend — The Australian CrossFit Championship and the Brazil CrossFit Championship. Find out who impressed with their performances and who is heading to the CrossFit Games. They also look ahead to the Atlas Games in Montreal, Quebec.