“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”- Desmond Tutu
Meet Games Rookie Alex Gazan: The Newest Underdogs Athletics Star
Alex Gazan didn’t enter the Granite Games in Eagan, MN expecting to qualify for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
“My expectations were to do well, and ultimately qualifying would be really cool, but if I wasn’t necessarily expecting to qualify,” said the 20-year-old Gazan, who started CrossFit when she was 16 and competed in her first CrossFit Open in 2018. At the time, she could barely overhead squat a barbell, let alone do any of the high skill movements.
Since then, Gazan, who has been training under coach Justin Cotler at Underdogs Athletics in Las Vegas, NV this season, has improved quickly and dramatically.
Heading into this year’s Semifinals, Gazan knew she was fitter than she was when she placed 16th at Semifinals last year, but she didn’t start to really believe she could qualify to the Games until she found herself in the top five halfway through the competition.
“After workout three, I was still in a qualifying spot and I was like, ’OK, I don’t want to fall out of a qualifying spot…so as the weekend progressed, my expectations to qualify progressed,” she said of how she started to believe in herself more and more after each workout.
And by the end of the weekend, there was Gazan: fourth overall and headed to her first CrossFit Games.
Late Starts: How Semifinal Athletes Adjust to Competing Later
It’s just before 9 PM on Friday night in TCO Stadium—the sun has set, the stadium lights are bright, and the crowd roars with each attempt at the barbell complex at the Granite Games semifinal.
Alex Gazan (who later in the weekend would qualify for her first CrossFit Games) hits a complex PR of 230 pounds and the raw emotion is palatable. Being so late in the evening, how does one come down from that excitement to get to bed on time, and do it all again the next day?
“That was definitely the hardest I think,” her coach and head of Underdog Athletics, Justin Cotler, said. “For her, just being wired —she doesn’t have that competition experience yet, so trying to get her focused and leveling her emotions. Yes, it was amazing; give me a hug, now let’s do what we need to do to ride this momentum the rest of the weekend.”
With late finishes come late starts, and many athletes aren’t used to being restless all day, waiting to give it their all until dinner time.
Cotler says one of the keys is to adjust your sleep schedule leading into competition weekend.
What to Expect from the 2022 CrossFit Games Last Chance Qualifier
With the second iteration of the Last Chance Qualifier fast approaching, today we dive into what competitors can expect based on what we learned from last year and what we’ve already seen this year in the previous parts of the season.
The first year of the LCQ featured four workouts and a total of seven movements. Every single one of those movements had already showed up in some iteration at a previous stage of the season:
Rowing: Previously seen in the Quarterfinals and the online Semifinals
Hang Dumbbell Snatch: DB snatch in the Open, barbell snatch in Quarters and Semis
Burpees: Burpee box jump overs in the Open and Quarters, burpees in Semis
Double Unders: Appeared in every stage (Open, Quarters, and Semis)
Squat Cleans: Heavy clean in the Open, Db hang cleans at Quarters, barbell clean (and jerks) in Semis
Legless Rope Climbs: Previously in the online Semifinals
Deadlift: Part of the Barbell Complex in the Open, dumbbell deadlifts in Semis
Due to COVID restrictions last season, CrossFit was responsible for programming a complete online Semifinal which took a lot of possible unused movements off the table for the LCQ. This year that was not the case, CrossFit only programmed two of the six Semifinal workouts and therefore has a little more leeway should they want to incorporate unused movements into this year’s LCQ.
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