“It’s a lot of pressure, but I am just very happy that me and my body can do this. I’m not looking at the new Barbie movie (thinking) ‘Oh, I want to look like that.’ I want to look like I want to look...I just want to prove that my body, whatever it looks like, can do these amazing things.”- Laura Horvath, when asked by sideline reporter Niki Brazier what it meant to her to be a role model to women and girls
The Young Guns of the 2023 CrossFit Games
At the 2023 CrossFit Games, 79 men and women competed for space on the podium, a mixture of veterans and rookies. As is the case every year, a handful of young, fresh-faced competitors graced the competition floor, leaving their mark on the event.
The bottom line: Of all the athletes, there were eight particularly young men and women who inspired young CrossFitters worldwide, and electrified fans with their performances in Madison.
At 18 years old, second-place finisher Emma Lawson took home two test wins, on “Ride,” and “Intervals.” She had four top-five finishes and ten out of twelve finishes in the top ten. In 2022, she took home the “Rookie of the Year” award, and the previous year, she competed as a teen, and won the 16-17 Teen Division.
Alex Gazan, at age 21, finished in 5th and racked up four top five finishes as well, and six top ten finishes. Her best performances were seen in “Ski Bag” and “Muscle Up Logs,” where she earned 2nd place in both. Gazan also took home the award for “Most Improved.”
“Rookie of the Year” award winner Olivia Kerstetter, the youngest athlete in the field at 17 years old, finished in 16th place, and earned an event win on “Echo Thruster Final.” Kerstetter competed as a teen and in 2021 won the 14-15 division and in 2022 won the 16-17 Teen Division.
Another former Teen Division competitor and champion, Emma Cary, at age 19 finished in 8th place with two second place finishes in “Helena” and “Intervals.” Cary won the North America East Semifinal earlier this spring and after taking 2022 off due to an injury, fans were excited to see her back on the competition floor.
At age 20, Mayhem athlete Paige Powers returned to Madison, her second year competing as an individual, after competing as a teen in 2018 and 2019. Powers finished in 10th place and had a third-place finish in the “Inverted Medley.” She had three finishes in the top five, and six finishes in the top ten.
“What’s up, Morning Chalk Up? It’s goodr sunglasses CEO Carl the Flamingo. Like most CEOs, I’ve been very busy with tropical vacations, yacht parties, and space bacchanals. But somehow, I found time to go to the Games in Madison!!! WOW. Wow, wow, wow. Wow.
• SQUUUAAAAWWWK-ing at athletes every time I saw a ‘no-rep.’ Or thought I saw one. I love to squawk!!!
• Cheering for the rockstars carrying Husafell bags full of cheese up the Capitol steps. (In Wisconsin, all weights are made of cheese.)
Chelsea Nicholas, who was leading the women’s 35-39 age division through the first four tests, tore her right achilles in test five and had to withdraw. She announced on Instagram that she is scheduled for surgery this Thursday.
Who Won the Instagram Games at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games?
We love social media, and we hate social media, but when you’re an elite CrossFit athlete, it’s more than a petty popularity contest. Because, when it comes to gaining sponsors and being able to be a true professional athlete, followers matter.
With that being said, the winner of this year’s Instagram Games—the athlete who picked up the most Instagram followers during the CrossFit Games week was Russia’s Roman Khrennikov.
The Most Inspirational Moments of the 2023 CrossFit Games
And just like that, it was over. In what some would say was the most exciting CrossFit Games we have seen in a long time, we walked away with two new champions, Jeff Adler and Laura Horvath. Beyond the overall point totals, the final year in Madison gave us some of the most memorable moments we have witnessed in live competition.
These were some of the best:
Roman returns to sender: After winning last year’s tweaked “Alpaca” test, Roman Khrennikov said that if the legless rope climbs were still in it as Boz had initially intended, he would have won that too. In 2023, he made that a reality when he won “Alpaca Redux” and mentioned in his post-test interview that he wanted to give both test-winning plaques to Boz so he would always be remembered.
Jack Farlow’s clean and jerk: On Saturday night, the athletes lifted heavy in the Coliseum, and young Jack Farlow blew everyone away with a 396-pound clean and jerk, which was the heaviest recorded at a live CrossFit competition. He totaled 701 for the event win.
“Shoeless” Alex Gazan: As one of the best legless rope climbers in the business, Alex Gazan led her heat most of the way through “Alpaca Redux.” During her final sled push, though, one of her shoes popped off, and she attempted to finish the test first with one shoe and then entirely barefoot. She was told she must put her shoes back on, and Gazan refused to give up, wedged her feet inside her shoes as quickly as possible, and pushed to the finish.
Sam Dancer’s redemption: Last year Dancer came to the Games ready to dominate the 35-39 age division, but an injury derailed that goal and made him withdraw after the first test. Dancer came back hungry and with a mantra of “Find out what happens when you don’t give up.” He won his age division by 70 points with three first-place finishes and felt so good about his fitness that we might see him back with the Individuals next season.
Emily Rolfe’s return: At the end of the first test at the CrossFit Games in 2022, Emily Rolfe was forced to withdraw due to a medical issue (a severe blood clot), but she made a triumphant return in 2023. She finished the weekend in 12th place with five top-ten finishes.
Hanna Hardy and the 5K: It was hot and humid for everyone in Madison this year, and during Test four, the 5K, the teams felt it just as much as the individuals. So much so that Hanna Hardy, a Games veteran, suffered heat stroke. Her team, TTT CrossFit Black, refused to give up on her, with one member literally carrying her. The medical staff intervened to give aid to Hardy. Just as her team refused to give up on her, she refused to give up on them–she was back out there for the next test and five more before ultimately missing the last cut.
Behind the Numbers: Maximizing Drop-In Revenue with Seasonal Strategies
Gym owners know that drop-ins can be a HUGE source of income, especially if you live somewhere people want to visit (check out the map of most popular drop in areas in this article). So how do you get your name out there to traveling athletes?
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🥳 Teen CrossFit Games athlete Jenna Michelottigot a tattoo in Madison for her 18th birthday.
Speaking of tattoos, Jesse Fraser of Tattoo Salvation in Louisville, KY (and Mat Fraser’s brother) inked the HWPO logo on 120+ eager CrossFit Games spectators who will now receive free programming for life.
This Olivia Kerstetter before and after is everything. Kerstetter won CrossFit Games Individual Test 12 and the Rookie of the Year award.
“I’ve proven that I belong,” she said after her finish of 7:22. “We’re just getting started.”
Hebert Rezende of CrossFit BlackSheep in Sao Paolo, Brazil takes on the Box Jump Over Challenge. Now it’s your turn
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