“Everything that is beautiful and noble is the product of reason and calculation.”- Charles Baudelaire
Military Veteran, Former Affiliate Owner Starts Non-Profit to Help Refugees in Afghanistan and Ukraine
When Bruce Roberts retired from the US military after 27 years of service in 2021, the former CrossFit affiliate owner and long-time CrossFit athlete needed a new purpose.
“I could have gone into the corporate world and chased the dollar, but I wanted to do something meaningful,” said Roberts, who served in the Army in Afghanistan in 2008.
“And then when the US withdrew from Afghanistan over the summer, I really felt like we failed to live up to our commitment to some of those folks,” he explained.
This led Roberts to start August Mission, a Utah-based non-profit in September of 2021, whose purpose is to help recover, resettle and assist refugees.
The First Six Months
August Mission, which is 100 percent funded by private donations, has already worked with 193 people in Afghanistan in the last six months, some of whom they have helped get out of Afghanistan, while others have been moved into safe houses to hide from the Taliban.
Further, Roberts and his quickly growing team have provided humanitarian support in a variety of ways, as well as help with visa applications.
“We knew Afghanistan was going to be our first mission, but we knew it wouldn’t be the last,” he said.
Roberts wasn’t necessarily expecting the next crisis to be so soon, but when Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, he didn’t hesitate to turn his attention there.
He and his team, which includes Brute Strength coach Nick Fowler, were “tracking the situation” in Ukraine for two months before the invasion, Roberts explained.
“We had made some contacts in Poland, who we had been talking to on a weekly basis, and Nick and I were just watching how things progressed. And when the war actually started we knew we had to get over there and start helping the refugees.”
Fowler, a former firefighter, was the first to volunteer to fly to Ukraine, which he did two weeks ago.
Since then, Fowler and the other August Mission volunteers have been on the ground in western Ukraine doing “threat assessments” and “looking for areas we can have the most impact,” Roberts said.
“A lot of the organizations that are over there right now aren’t willing to cross the border into Ukraine, so they’re helping from Poland,” he explained. This means they’re often transferring goods at the border rather than bringing them directly into Ukraine, “which is super inefficient,” he said.
Going directly into Ukraine, however, is something his organization is willing and able to do.
“We’re small, we’re flexible, we’re nimble, so we can go to places and determine what are the needs of these people that aren’t being filled.”
As a result, August Mission is now arranging vans full of goods from Poland to deliver to Ukraine, and will then also be able to take people out of Ukraine on their way out.
Their second big initiative is to bring volunteer doctors from Utah along with goods and medical supplies, to set up impromptu medical clinics at refugee camps.
Roberts admits a year ago he never would have guessed this is what he’d be doing today.
“I never saw myself going into humanitarian work, but it’s very rewarding. I stay up at night trying to think of ways to solve problems. The challenge is figuring out how to solve hard problems in a way that’s going to make a positive impact on people,” he said.
Roberts will get an opportunity to do just this, as he is heading to Ukraine on April 11 to help out in any way he can.
Here is the (unofficial) top ten worldwide Individual Quarterfinal leaderboard:
Justin Medeiros (143) | Tia-Clair Toomey (19)
Guilherme Malheiros (158) | Gabriela Migala (132)
Jeffrey Adler (198) | Kara Saunders (134)
Chandler Smith (266) | Mallory O’Brien (153)
Noah Ohlsen (283) | Alexis Raptis (163)
Scott Panchik (305) | Danielle Brandon (171)
Saxon Panchik (312) | Sara Sigmundsdottir (205)
Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson (369) | Amanda Barnhart (222)
Patrick Vellber (405) | Emma Lawson (237)
Willy Georges (414) | Emma McQuaid (240)
Volunteer and staff registration for the Far East Throwdown 2022 will open from April 1. The competition will take place June 3-5 in Busan, South Korea. 🇰🇷
In case you missed it, CrossFit Games veterans Patrick Vellner and Fee Saghafi were on The Bottom Line to talk about how CrossFit has expanded its pay structure and how this helps professionalize the sport. Saghafi spoke about how this can help athletes focus solely on CrossFit and thus raise the bar for the sport.
“It’s huge and it’s honestly just now I’ve had an opportunity to (focusing solely on training and competition). I was still working on the side (last Spring), still coaching, but still saving money and my parents had to help me because financially I couldn’t afford it.”
Last year, during the inaugural Quarterfinal round of the new (new) CrossFit Games season structure, I documented my journey through the five tests and compared and contrasted my initial thoughts on the programming to my actual performance and insight gained through competing.
I guess lightning does strike twice sometimes because I am back competing at Quarterfinals and here to break down the experience and provide feedback on each individual test. This year the floor plans were published early to the public (intentionally), and upon the release of the workouts themselves, some clear themes have emerged in conjunction with last year’s programming.
NASCAR Team President Chris Rice Drops 50 Pounds Doing CrossFit
Finding time to work out and focus on personal health is a hurdle that many people struggle to overcome. Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice has done just that while running one of NASCAR’s championship-contending teams, losing roughly 50 pounds, and reminding everyone to smile.
Remind me: Kaulig Racing, which began competing in NASCAR in 2016, fields five full-time cars. Two compete in the top-level Cup Series while three run in the second-tier Xfinity Series. Rice has been with Kaulig Racing since the beginning, but he started out as a general manager and crew chief before assuming his current role.
Rice, who started his NASCAR career as a gasman in 1989, has helped guide the Xfinity Series drivers to 15 total wins and two appearances in the championship four. AJ Allmendinger, who won at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, captured the lone Cup Series win in 2021 at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kaulig Racing has put an emphasis on health in recent seasons while pursuing these wins. The team has an in-house nurse and has worked with health-focused partners in Hyperice, Athletic Greens, and CELSIUS.
Bethany Shadburne Withdraws Amid Back Injury, Ends 2022 Games Season
Five-time CrossFit Games athlete Bethany Shadburne announced that she’s withdrawing from quarterfinals after injuring her back warming-up for event 4 “The Other Total.” The withdrawal ends her bid to return to the 2022 CrossFit Games.
“I went to do ‘The Other Total’ and unfortunately during my warm up, my back went out on me, leaving me on the floor and knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to do the rest of the weekend.”
“This wasn’t a huge surprise to me with the variety of injuries that had come my way since covid.”
“As frustrating as it has been, my back has continued to be a bigger problem than I wanted to believe this year, going out on me multiple times since January.”One big thing: After missing the 2021 Games due to a positive COVID test days before competition started, Shadburne’s return to the 2022 Games was much anticipated as she’s widely considered a potential podium finisher.
In January, she finished second at Wodapalooza in her first in-person competition back from COVID.
Shadburne has been plagued with nagging back issues over the years that have kept her from training or from training certain lifts during periods throughout the season.
The bottom line: Shadburne is the second 2021 Games female athlete to withdraw from quarterfinals due to injury. Emma Cary, who finished 16th at the Games, withdrew also from a back injury. Despite the obvious disappointment, withdrawing this early in the season gives both athletes ample time to heal and return stronger without the physical demands of competing through the heaviest and hardest parts of the season.
Shadburne: “Once healthy Bethany is on the competition floor, it’s going to be scary. But for now, I’m going to allow myself some time to feel these emotions and then get pain free/ continue to do what I know to do. Because like I said, I know I’m on the right path, it’s just a ‘not right now.’”
Carry: “Now I have 500 days to pour my everything into training for the 2023 CrossFit Games and a lot of opportunities to get even more resilient, tough, and smart.”
Get Those Hamstrings Cooking
Hamstrings get smoked in a lot of CrossFit movements such as deadlifts, wall balls, and Olympic lifts. But aside from the GHD, isolating the hamstrings is tough. Here are ten exercises that you can do in your box to build your hamstrings.
NOCCO's newest flavor is here, with a refreshing taste of Blood Orange. Containing 180mg caffeine, 3000mg BCAAs, and vitamins. All NOCCO products are carbonated, sugar free and carb free. Pick up the can fueling elite athletes like Haley Adams, Dani Speegle, Zack George, and many more.
Bench Press snuck up on some people in the Individual Quarterfinal competition, so we should probably start working on that. Here are four tips that cover some of the main issues commonly seen during the bench press.
It's Spring savings season at Reebok, and Morning Chalk Up readers can save 40% off sitewide and 50% off sale items. Just use code "SPRINGSAVINGS" at checkout to perform some spring cleaning on your closet.
Lettuce wraps filled with tender, spicy shrimp, avocado, and tomato salsa, topped with a spicy jalapeno cilantro sauce. Just yes. These flavor-packed tacos make an amazing lunch or dinner, and using lettuce for the wraps can help keep you on track with your macros.
Congratulations to Joe Pervall from Southern Pines CrossFit in Southern Pines, NC on the lifetime clean PR of 405 pounds/183.5kg.
Congratulations to Anna Baer from The Powerhouse in St. Louis Park, MN on her first ring muscle-up during Quarterfinals Workout 2.
Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir hit a monster overhead squat over the weekend, contributing to her “Other Total” score of 693 pounds/314kg, and 12th place in the workout for European women.
22-year-old Rebecca Fuselier from CrossFit Bolt in Coppell, TX hits a heavy clean in Quarterfinals Workout 4, landing her in 60th place overall (unofficially) in North America.
Burpees for Ukraine is a fundraising effort led by Nicholas Worley from CrossFit Asphodel in Hong Kong, in which a team of 2 will do one burpee for every dollar donated. Donations will go to Doctors without Borders, an organization mobilizing medical teams and providing supplies to help people in Ukraine. As of Monday, March 28 they are nearly halfway to the $15,000 goal.
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